The mission of the National Disabled Law Students Association (“NDLSA”) is to support disabled legal professionals before, during, and after their legal education to increase the number of attorneys with disabilities and other historically excluded identities within the profession. NDLSA facilitates peer networks across the country, coordinates advocacy alongside disabled law students, and provides resources to combat the pervasive ableism of the legal field. This project will center the efficacy of NDLSA as the organization seeks to support students in its chapter organizations all over the U.S.
NDLSA has engaged the Harvard Dispute Systems Design Clinic to continue a project begun in the Fall of 2023 that sought to uncover the system surrounding the law school experience for students with disabilities in order to develop helpful resources for students. The aim of the fall project focused on connecting and resourcing law students with disabilities to build and leverage power on their campuses, and that general purpose continues to anchor this project. The Spring 2024 project will prioritize learning the perspectives of administrative stakeholders and other institutional bodies in the system while continuing to lift up student experiences. Ultimately, students will work in partnership with NDLSA to share the results of continued outreach and adapt current programming to suit the obstacles, needs, and goals of each group in pursuit of facilitating access, advocacy, and coalition-building for disabled law students.
- Continue the stakeholder assessment begun in project one—expanding on student engagement and also including administrators, faculty, and other institutional stakeholders—through interviews, surveys and focus groups;
- Engage secondary research related to accessibility, inclusion, advocacy and best practices in dispute systems design;
- Organize research and develop additional guidance that reflects the assessment findings and secondary research in order to assist NDLSA in creating resources that could be utilized by students, campus organizations and communities;
- Deliver a report informed by the additional and previous stakeholder research.