What DLPP Students Have to Say

On March 26, 2014, the DLPP hosted a Disability Law Job Panel with several alumni of the DLPP who came back to the COL to talk about their successful job searches and why they like their jobs. They are, from left to right: Koert Wehberg  ’08, Rebecca Russo ’05, Michael King ’05, Prof. Arlene Kanter, Julie Morse ’05, Tovah Miller ’12, Jennifer Aronson ’12.

Why Students Choose the Disability Law and Policy Program

“I chose to attend Syracuse because of the dual degree and certificate opportunity available with the JD/MS in Cultural Foundations of Education with a Certificate in Advanced Disability Studies. There are only a few other universities that offer a program like this and by far Syracuse’s is the best. I have discussed the pursuit of my Masters and Certificate degrees in all of my interviews. Employers have commented on my versatility as well as the practicality of my degree given the increased litigation in this field.  Between the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and the IDEA there is work representing individuals who suffer discrimination as a result of their disability as well as work guiding employers, municipalities and schools in ensuring they are in compliance with state and federal legislation.”

– Dani Morrison  COL ‘15

“The DLPP program in law and disability studies is one of the primary reasons that I chose to study at Syracuse University College of Law.  Working alongside highly talented individuals at the College of Law as well as at the School of  Education has broadened my knowledge base toward understanding the philosophical and sociological inquiries that are vital to respecting and advancing the rights of individuals with disabilities.  I hope to use the diversified experience that I receive at SUCOL to be an effective change agent through policy reform and scholarship.”

– Bobby Molson COL ‘15

"I chose to come to SUCOL because of its joint degree option with the SOE. It is one of only a few universities in the nation that offer an official law/education dual degree. And at SUCOL, you can add the option of working towards a New York State-approved Certificate in Disability Studies. No one offers a program like that, anywhere”

– Susan Schneider COL ‘15

“As an alum of the Disability Law and Policy Program at SU, I have incorporated disability awareness into my current position as an attorney for a legal aid office.  Although many of the attorneys already were mindful of people with disabilities, there were other issues (accessibility; inclusion; etc.) that were subissues in many of our cases that our clients may not have raised immediately or even known were issues that could be adjudicated.  Just spreading the knowledge I gained from my experience in the DLPP has not only helped my fellow attorneys to spot issues relating to disability that may be resolved with our clients, but has increased the scope of our advocacy to include fighting for ALL human rights, not just those listed on our brochure.”

– Jennifer Aronson COL ‘12

“I chose SUCOL specifically for the DLPP because there was no real comparison to other programs.  Growing up in Syracuse, I knew about the program’s worldwide reputation. Almost all of my positive experiences in law school were the result of my participation in the Disability Law and Policy Program – my experience in the clinic showed me the hands-on applicability of the law that we were studying and helped me to focus my interests within disability rights. My courses in the School of Education brought me out of the law school and introduced me to interesting and engaging people and conversations from all over the world. I know that the combination of experiences and my two degrees as a DLPP student have prepared me completely for my current job and will prepare me for whatever future job I may have. “

– Tovah Miller COL ’12

“As a former educator, I specifically chose the College of Law to pursue a joint J.D./M.S.Ed through the Disability Law and Policy Program (DLPP). The greatest strength of the DLPP is that it gives graduates a head start in today’s competitive job market. Through the mentorship of SU faculty, DLPP graduates enter the workforce fully prepared to effectively advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families. Thanks to the DLPP, I was able to secure an Equal Justice Works Fellowship at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) in Berkeley, California, where I practice special education law."

– Bobby Borrelle COL ’13

"The Disability Law and Policy Program was the main reason I applied to SUCOL. Without the program and the subsequent certificate that I received, I would not have been selected for the prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowship or had the opportunity to practice disability rights law at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest or the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, where I currently practice special education law."

– Koert Wehberg COL ’08

“I applied to SUCOL because it offered the DLPP. When I applied to law school in 2002, SU was the only school that offered a program like DLPP. I knew I wanted to work in policy and disability rights and the joint degree gave me the skills I needed to pursue my goals. I was able to take classes that gave me a foundation in disability law and a working knowledge of disability policy. I am currently employed as a State contact for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, where I work directly with State educational agencies to ensure improved results for children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. I also respond to policy inquiries from the field. The joint degree continues to lay the necessary framework that allows me to reach for and achieve my career goals."

– Jen Wolfsheimer COL ’05

Julie Morse L'05

Since September 2005, Julie has worked as a Skadden Fellow at Legal Services of Central New York, Inc. in conjunction with Syracuse University's Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies. Pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C. by Zimring
that unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is discrimination prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Julie provides representation to people with disabilities to enable them to live and receive services in the community.

"I chose Syracuse University because it is the only university in the country that offers a joint degree in law and disability studies.  My dual degree will allow me to advocate for people with disabilitie, as well as empower people with disabilities to be their own advocates, through legal, political and social means."

Crystal Doody L'05

Crystal is a Staff Attorney at Legal Services of Central New York where she represents people with disabilities on a range of legal issues including special education, discrimination, and access to services.  She is also a founding member of the LGBTQ Law Association of Central New York. 

Nathaniel J. Kuzma L'06

Nathaniel is an associate at the Law Offices of Neal H. Rosenberg, located in lower Manhattan, specializing in Special Education Law.  The firm primarily represents parents of students with disabilties who are seeking guidance in their legal pursuits against the New York City Department of Education and surrounding school districts.  Mr. Rosenberg maintains the largest practice of this kind in the New York metropolitan area, and the firm prides itself in its ability to work with both parents and the board to provide better educational opportunities for children.  

Jennifer Conrad L'06

Jennifer is the Policy Adviser to the Youth Team for the U.S. Department of Labor.  She works in the Department's Office of Disability Employment Policy.  The Youth Team works to ensure that youths with disabilities have access to transition services that prepare them for
post-secondary education and employment. 

"By obtaining my law and masters degree with a disability focus at Syracuse University, I have the background needed to succeed at this job and with my future disability policy career."

Sheila Schwallie L'06

Sheila is am an Appellate Court Attorney for the New York State Appellate Division, Fourth Department in Rochester, NY.  She reviews both civil and criminal appeals and prepares bench briefs for the panel of Appellate Court Justices to review before oral argument.

"My experience with the joint degree program was excellent.  Many of the courses I took within the School of Education discussed the  social issues behind the law and this combination of classes was an excellent preparation for real-world practice."

Cynthia Smith L'06

Cynthia is a Research Associate at the Burton Blatt  Institute: Centers of Innovation on Disability (BBI) at Syracuse University. BBI's mission is to advance the civic, economic and social participation of individuals with disabilities and their families through building a international collaborative institute that engages professionals and students in cross-disciplines. At BBI, Cindy works on a number of federally funded research and policy projects in the areas of employment, emergency preparedness and education. Cindy is also a current doctoral student in Special Education at Syracuse University.