The National Disabled Law Student Association (“NDLSA”) is an organization run by law students and recent graduates to support the unique needs of disabled law students before, during, and after their legal education by creating a sense of community through advocacy, peer network facilitation, and disability diversity education.
NDLSA aims to eliminate the stigma of disability within the legal profession and foster an environment where law students and lawyers are easily able to obtain the accommodations necessary to achieve career success.
In January 2019, group of like-minded individuals created the Law School Disability Advocacy Coalition in hopes of sharing tips on how to navigate the often-complex process of receiving accommodations while entering the legal profession. While students in higher education who have disabilities often face additional challenges on top of their academic ones, law students in particular face barriers to success from shifting accommodation policies when trying to take their LSAT to unclear instructions on how to receive accommodations for the bar exam.
The support group hit on a hot-button issue, as the number of students with disabilities pursuing legal careers continues to increase. In just a year and a half, the group grew to over 650 members. Although the support group provided a way for students to share advice, active student leaders in the group recognized a need for long-term advocacy, education, and formal support for new, local law student organizations for disability. Thus, after much debate and a voting contest for a new name, the National Disabled Law Students Association was created.