Embark on a rewarding career as a disability lawyer, championing the rights of individuals with disabilities.
Learn the essential steps, skills, and qualities needed to excel in this impactful legal field.
How to Become a Disability Lawyer
Disability law changes a lot and is kind of hard, but practicing it can be tough yet satisfying.
Disability lawyers assist disabled people in getting the benefits and legal protections they should have.
If you like helping others and care about disability rights, a career in disability law might be right for you.
What is Disability Law?
Disability law is a broad area of law that encompasses a wide range of legal issues affecting individuals with disabilities.
Some of the most common areas of disability law include:
- Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
- Disability discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations
- Educational rights of students with disabilities
What does a disability lawyer do?
Disability lawyers represent individuals with disabilities in a variety of legal matters. They may help clients:
- Disability lawyers help individuals with disabilities with different legal issues.
- They assist clients in applying for and appealing Social Security Disability benefits.
- They support clients in applying for and appealing Supplemental Security Income benefits.
- Disability lawyers file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and other agencies, alleging disability discrimination.
- They represent clients in court hearings and lawsuits.
- Disability lawyers draft and review legal documents, like wills and trusts.
- They provide legal advice and counseling to individuals with disabilities and their families.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become a Disability Lawyer
Becoming a disability lawyer requires a significant commitment of time, effort, and resources. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Commit Time and Effort: Becoming a disability lawyer requires a significant commitment of time, effort, and resources.
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: While there’s no specific major for law school, pursuing degrees in fields like political science, sociology, or social work can build a strong foundation for understanding disability law.
- Take the LSAT: The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) assesses critical thinking and analytical skills crucial for law school success. Aim for a competitive score to enhance your law school admission chances.
- Attend Law School: Focus on developing legal expertise and exposure to disability law. Take relevant courses and participate in clinics or internships for practical experience.
- Pass the MPRE: The Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) assesses professional ethics knowledge and is required for licensure in most states.
- Pass the Bar Exam: Complete the bar exam in the state(s) where you plan to practice law to demonstrate legal knowledge and competence.
- Gain Disability Law Experience: After law school, gain experience in disability law by working with legal aid organizations, disability advocacy groups, or government agencies focusing on disability rights.
- Consider Specialization: With experience, consider specializing in areas like Social Security Disability (SSD), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or disability discrimination to establish expertise.
- Stay Updated: Disability law evolves, so attend continuing legal education (CLE) courses, read legal publications, and participate in professional organizations to stay current on legislation, regulations, and case law.
Skills and Qualities of a Successful Disability Lawyer