Arlene S. Kanter

Arlene KanteLaura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence 2005-2008
Professor of Law Emerita
Founding Director, Disability Law and Policy Program 2005-2023
Professor of Disability Studies, School of Education (by courtesy appointment)
(315) 443-9551
Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Professor Kanter is the Founding Director of the College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program (DLPP) and has served as the Faculty Director of International Programs.

The DLPP houses the nation’s most extensive disability law program, including joint degrees, certificates, clinics, and externships, and the first LL.M. Program in the US with a specialization in international human rights and comparative disability law.

Professor Kanter is an internationally acclaimed expert in international and comparative disability law. She publishes and lectures extensively on domestic and international human rights and disability law and policy. Her recent book, The Development of Disability Rights Under International Law: From Charity to Human Rights (Routledge, 2015, 2017) traces the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CPRD). She is co-author (with Beth Ferri) of Righting Educational Wrongs: Disability Studies in Law and Education (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2014). This is the first book to bring together scholars from the fields of law, education, and disability studies. She also co-authored the first law casebook on international and comparative disability law, and has published over 100 articles and book chapters on topics related to international human rights and comparative disability law, US disability and special education laws, inclusive education, violence against women with disabilities, mental health law, legal personhood, and alternatives to guardianship.

From 2001-06, Professor Kanter worked with the UN committee on drafting the CRPD. Since then, she has worked with governments and disability organizations on implementing the CRPD in more than a dozen countries. She has been invited to speak at the UN General Assembly, the Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the Committee on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. She is currently an expert consultant to the UN Rapporteur on Disability as well as several international and domestic disability organizations.

In Fall 2017, Professor Kanter was a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. In Spring 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Lady Davis Fellowship at Hebrew University Faculty of Law. Previously, she was named the 2010-11 Distinguished Switzer Fellow by the US Department of Education’s National Disability Rehabilitation Research Institute, and the 2010-11 Fulbright Scholar at Tel Aviv University.

Professor Kanter is co-editor of the Critical Disability Series at Syracuse University Press, founder and editor of the SSRN Journal on Disability Law, co-founder of the Disability Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools, and co-founder of the Disability Collaborative Research Group of the Law and Society Association. She is a former Commissioner of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law.

At SU, Professor Kanter is a recipient of the University’s highest teaching award, the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorship of Teaching Excellence, and the Bond, Schoeneck and King Distinguished Professorship of Law. Professor Kanter also has been honored for her work in disability rights by the New York State Bar Association, the International Center of Syracuse, ARISE, and the Israel Center for Human Rights. At the College of Law, Professor Kanter has served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Director of Clinical Legal Education, and founder and Director of the Externship Program. She teaches disability law, international human rights and comparative disability law, public interest lawyering, and other courses. Professor Kanter holds a courtesy appointment in the School of Education. Prior to joining the faculty in 1988, Professor Kanter taught at Georgetown University Law Center and practiced public interest law at a national disability rights organization in Washington, DC, now known as the Bazelon Center on Mental Health Law, where she represented clients before the United States Supreme Court and Congress.


  • Georgetown University Law Center
    LL.M. 1983
  • New York University
    J.D., with honors 1981
  • Trinity College
    B.A., with honors 1976