University of California at Berkeley School of Law
Boalt Hall Official Site

About Us

Since the Disability Rights Movement began here in the early 70s, Berkeley has been known as a center for
disability rights advocacy.  BDLS seeks to maintain that tradition at Boalt by providing a forum for discussion of new and pressing issues in disability law, opportunities for students to engage in disability rights advocacy, and support for law students with and without disabilities.   BDLS is a diverse group of students with and without disabilities, unified by a  desire to improve access and awareness in the broader community.

     Originally called the Coalition for Access and Disability Rights Everywhere (CADRE), the group changed its name in 1999 to reflect its commitment to scholarship and community involvement as well as advocacy.


     The following are some of the programs offered by BDLS and Boalt Hall that you may find of particular interest:

Speaker Series: Each semester, BDLS invites local experts to discuss important issues in disability law.  In the past, speakers have addressed a variety of issues, including AIDS and the ADA, constitutional challenges to the ADA, international disability rights, working as an attorney with a disability, and special education. All Boalt students are welcome to attend these events.

Mentor Project: BDLS is currently developing a database of attorneys with disabilities who live in the Bay Area and who are willing to offer advice and support to Boalt students.  During the year, we sponsor dinners and receptions where students can ask questions and get to know the attorneys.

Outreach and Assistance: BDLS works with other student groups to ensure that Boalt recruits and admits a diverse student body, including students with disabilities.  We meet regularly with the Admissions Office, encourage our members to apply for membership on the Admissions Committee, and offer advice and support to new admits.  For new admits such as yourself, BDLS members are happy to offer advice about access in Berkeley and at Boalt to help you find the resources you need to move here, get settled, and succeed in law school.

Disability Law Curriculum: In addition to the projects that BDLS sponsors, Boalt Hall offers a number of courses in disability law, health care law, employment law, and human rights law.  These courses are taught by faculty who are experts in these areas and by local practitioners who have practical experience in these areas of law.  Boalt students may also petition to receive law school credit for taking other courses through UC Berkeley’s Disability Studies program, which offers a variety of interdisciplinary courses.
Boalt also offers students opportunities to be involved with a number of journals and organizations that are particularly relevant to disability law, including the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, the Center for Social Justice, the Youth and Education Law Society, the Health Care Law Society, and the Berkeley Journal of International Law.

Support Services: Boalt’s Student Services Office works in conjunction with the Disabled Students Program to provide Boalt students with the advice and services they need to succeed in law school.  The campus Disabled Students Program provides funding for note-takers, secretarial help, and research assistance for qualified individuals.  The Student Services staff is friendly and easy to work with, and they are committed to providing the appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.  For more information, contact Holly Parrish ( at (510) 642-3263.

Clinicals and Community Organizations: The Bay Area is home to many nationally-recognized organizations that provide support services and advocate for the rights of the disabled.  These groups include the Center for Independent Living, which was the first of its kind in the nation; the World Institute on Disability, which focuses on public policy issues; and Disability Rights Advocates, which provides legal representation to people with disabilities.  Students may receive academic credit for working in disability rights advocacy through a clinical sponsored by the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.  Students may also apply for grants through the Berkeley Law Foundation to support a summer spent doing disability rights advocacy or other public interest work.

Contact Information

Boalt Disability Law Society
282 Simon
University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 643-2697


For Students

Applicants and Incoming 1Ls

     Berkeley is a great place to live for people with disabilities, but getting here and starting law school can be somewhat unnerving.  If you're thinking of coming to Boalt, or you are already on your way, feel free to contact us once you've been offered admission and
we'll do what we can to help.

Among other things, we can help with:

Current Students

     BDLS is not just for students with disabilities.  The group offers a number of opportunities to hold positions of authority, meet experts on disability law, and get involved in efforts to make the community more accessible.  There are no fees or other requirements to be a member.

In addition, BDLS offers:

If you'd like to join our mailing list or have questions about the group, please contact us.


     BDLS is currently developing a listing of attorneys with disabilities who live in the Bay Area and are willing to be contacted to offer advice on employers, interview tactics, lifestyle issues, and surviving law school.  In the short run the list will provide a great resource for Boalt students with disabilities who have questions about their immediate future as attorneys.  In the long run, the list could create a network of attorneys with disabilities
who know each other and can assist each other with gathering information, job searches, and improving the profession as a whole.

     If you would be willing to have your name placed on the list, please contact us.  Your name and information
will not be shared with any organization or company outside BDLS without your explicit approval.

Disability Law and Advocacy

Society for Disability Studies

A nonprofit scientific and educational organization established to promote interdisciplinary research on humanistic and social scientific aspects of disability and chronic illness. Its membership includes social scientists, scholars in the humanities and disability rights advocates concerned with the problems of disabled people in society.  In addition to scholarship, the site has an extensive list of other disability organizations and their web sites.

National Organization on Disability

Pacific Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center

 Located at 2168 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, this is one of ten federally funded regional resource centers on the ADA. Their website contains links to statutes, regulations, United States Supreme Court cases and technical assistance manuals; the latest news from the Department of Justice, the EEOC, the Department of Transportation and the Access Board; as well as
information about lawsuits in progress and statistics. Current and back issues of the newsletter of the Pacific DBTAC are also available at this site.

 Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund

Another Berkeley-based organization, this leading public interest law firm practices in the area of disability rights. Students participating in Boalt's Disability Rights Clinic work with this firm, located at 2212 Sixth Street. Their website has links to several California and Bay Area initiatives and organizations.

 U.S. Dept. of Justice ADA Home Page

This site contains over 10,000 pages of recent settlements and consent agreements under the ADA. Also included are proposed regulations, technical assistance materials, and information about
mediation under the ADA.

 Architecture and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board

Since 1973 this federal agency has dealt with accessibility issues for people with disabilities. This site contains regulations, proposed regulations, and reports of special committees concerning access issues.

 ABA's Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law

 This American Bar Association commission has published the Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter since 1973, and more recently, a Directory  of Lawyers Practicing Disability Law. Their website has links to disability rights organizations and support groups.

 Job Accommodation Network

 This is not a job placement service, but rather a consulting service for information about ADA job accommodations and employability of people with disabilities. Funded by the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, this site contains links that include expert witnesses, resources, statistics, and organizations dealing with specific

Disability Culture and History

Callahan -- Disability Humor