The DLPP is an interdisciplinary program for law students. Although most courses are taught by law faculty, DLPP students may also take up to six credits outside of the College of Law, with prior approval, in courses related to disability law and policy. Law students who are accepted to and enroll in the joint degree program in Disability Studies with the Cultural Foundation in Education Program in the School of Education take may take Disability Studies courses in public health, higher education, women and gender studies, special education, sociology, cultural foundations of education, social work, and other departments on campus, with prior approval of the Director of the Disability Studies program.

Disability Law

This class deals with federal laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on the American Disabilities Act of 1990. The goal of this course is to provide a legal, conceptual, and practical understanding of people with disabilities, forms of discrimination that occur on the basis of disability, and the protections against such discrimination that currently exist. 

Advanced Disability Law & Policy

This is an applied research course. Students select a topic of interest to them and prepare a class presentation and paper on the topic. The topic may pertain to domestic, international, or comparative disability law and policy. The course is open to all students, including those whom have not taken Disability Law. However, some background in disability studies or a related field (e.g. education, social policy) is suggested. This course is open to law students and graduate students, with permission of the instructor. This course meets the COL writing requirement.

Education Law Seminar

This seminar will introduce students to legal and policy issues that arise in the provision of public and private elementary, secondary, and higher education. The seminar seeks to provide students with an understanding of the role of education in society, and the role of law in the provision of education.

The course will cover such topics as gender equality, affirmative action and diversity, special education and inclusion, public school desegregation, federal and state roles in public education, the use of public funds for private/parochial education, public school choice and school vouchers, the right and responsibilities of students, and the rights and responsibilities of teachers and administrators. Guest speakers from the field of education will join the class and some students will have the opportunity to work on administrative hearings for clients as part of a class assignment. This course is open to law students and graduate students, with permission of the instructor. This course meets the COL writing requirement.

International Human Rights and Comparative Disability Law

In this course, students will explore recent developments in international human rights and comparative disability law, including recent efforts by the United Nations to draft a treaty on the rights of people with disabilities. Students will explore the role of people with disabilities within different legal systems, who are often vulnerable to human rights violations, and will learn about the United Nations’ current and ongoing efforts to draft a treaty on the rights of people with disabilities.

Professor Kanter and some of her former students have been involved in working with the UN on this treaty for the past five years. If enacted, this treaty will be the first binding international instrument designed specifically to protect the rights of people with disabilities to equal opportunities in all aspects of life.

Special Education Law

Special Education Law seeks to provide students with an understanding of the federal legislative process by examining laws that protect the rights of children with disabilities in school, specifically  the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). In this course, we will examine the rules of statutory construction, and how they apply to the language, scope, and coverage of the IDEA, as well as the IDEA’s legislative history, and the role of courts in interpreting the IDEA.

Disability Rights Clinic

The Disability Rights Clinic (DRC) is dedicated to providing representation to individuals with disabilities as well as groups representing the disabled community. The Clinic covers a broad range of disability discrimination matters and accessibility issues under federal and state laws. Specifically, the DRC focuses on employment, access to state and local government services, access to places of public accommodation (private businesses open to the public), transportation, prisoner rights, as well as international human rights work.

The Public Interest Externship Program provides law students the opportunity to assist public interest lawyers in our local offices of Legal Services of Central New York, Hiscock Legal Aid, and the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, and, most recently, the Office of the Public Defender. The Public Interest Externship is unique in offering students the opportunity to work with experienced public interest lawyers on a range of civil and criminal cases while also providing much-needed legal assistance to members of our local low-income community.

Employment Discrimination Law

This course examines the law regulating employment discrimination and equal employment opportunity. It is an introductory, but comprehensive, course that emphasizes the major analytical frameworks for conceptualizing discrimination and equality in the workplace while surveying the relevant doctrine, focusing primarily on federal employment discrimination statutes (including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and the Americans with Disabilities Act). 

Students will learn to read, interpret, and explain the major court decisions interpreting the legal prohibitions against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and age. Students will learn to apply those precedents to factual situations, including identifying more than one legal framework that could apply to the same set of facts. Students will also learn to identify and explain the procedural challenges common to employment discrimination litigation, including pleading standards, standards of proof and inference, and discovery. Finally, students will understand how to develop a litigation and discovery plan for fact-intensive employment discrimination claims.

Health Law and Policy

This course covers the law of health care delivery and the financing in the United States. It explores the structure and complexities of the health care system, especially the relationships between different actors (physicians and other health care professionals, hospitals and other kinds of facilities) and private and government insurers (Medicaid and Medicare). A focus of the course is finding ways of improving the quality of and access to health care while controlling costs and ensuring respect for individual autonomy and dignity. Students will gain an understanding of the key laws that regulate access (e.g., duty to treat, insurance mandates, antidiscrimination law), quality (e.g., licensing, peer review, tort liability), and cost (e.g., provider reimbursement concerns).

Students will learn to counsel health care providers regarding their exposure to common law and statutory liability at the state and federal level and how to evaluate ethical dilemmas in the health care context (like ones related to bioethics and professional ethics conflicts). Students will also gain tools to advocate for patients who are injured, those from whom proper informed consent to medical treatment was not obtained, and those who are denied coverage or benefits under privately and publicly financed health care programs.