With $1M donation, this law school plans to build pipeline of lawyers who have disabilities


Federal judges and elected officials make decisions based on personal experience, which is why former House Rep. Tony Coelho of California, who has epilepsy, would like to see more people with identified disabilities in those positions. He recently donated $1 million to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles for a disability group housed at the law school called the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation, which will work with the university’s seven schools.

The Loyola Law School hopes to position itself as a leader regarding accommodations for law students who have disabilities, and it plans to create a national dialogue that identifies barriers for the community, says Michael Waterstone, the law school’s dean. The school also wants to recruit law students who have disabilities and host prelaw boot camps for the population.

In the next year, the group is planning to publish a paper on disclosure and workplace accommodations for people who have mental disabilities; build a summer program for disability law fellows; and host a summer conference at the university to discuss leadership, issue awareness and partnerships with existing disability organizations.

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