The New Boys: Women with Disabilities and the Legal Profession by Carrie Griffin Basas

Abstract: This essay fuses the fields of law, feminist theory, and cultural studies to examine the status of women attorneys with disabilities. It is the first study of its kind in the United States. The author conducted an empirical, qualitative, and ethnographic study of thirty-eight women attorneys with disabilities in the United States. Their narratives form the basis for a critical analysis of disability animus and discrimination in the legal profession. The results show an alarming trend toward disabled women attorneys self-accommodating in the workplace, rather than enforcing their employment rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Relying on the scholarship of covering, passing, and mitigation conducted in the law and social sciences, the author advances theories about ableism in the legal profession, particularly with regard to disabled women. These theories inform and complement strategies for increasing overall diversity in the profession. She suggests litigation and professional-culture-based measures for improving the status of disabled women attorneys and all attorneys stigmatized by perceived differences.

 

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