Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium

The annual Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium honors the legacy of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek who founded the National Federation of the Blind in 1940.

Dr. Jacobus tenBroek black and white portrait.Information regarding the 2020 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will be available on this page in the coming months.

2019 Dates 

Thursday, March 28 through Friday March 29, 2019

2019 Location

National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

2019 Theme

The theme of the 2019 symposium was "The Impact of Public Attitudes and Stigma on Our Right to Live in the World.”

We examined Dr. Jacobus tenBroek’s legacy through a social lens, exploring the intersection of law and public attitudes about disability. We focused on how public attitudes about disability induce negative stereotypes of persons with mental health diagnoses, the disabled homeless, and disabled immigrants, as well as how these attitudes influence treatment under the law of persons with disabilities in education, healthcare, employment, housing, and the criminal justice system. We also explored strategies for combating the stigma attributed to persons with disabilities by, among other methods, exploring how we frame the image of disability in advocacy.

To review transcripts and audio highlights from the 2019 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, please visit our past symposia page.

2019 Topics and Speakers

The 2019 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium consisted of plenary sessions and workshops facilitated by distinguished law professors, practitioners, and advocates who discussed topics such as:

  • Discrimination against homeless people with disabilities
  • Disparate treatment under the law of mental and physical disabilities
  • Disability rights and immigrants
  • Framing the image of disability in advocacy
  • Valuation of the disabled life
  • Bullying, harassment, and the civil rights of people with disabilities

Presenters included:

  • Elizabeth Barnes, Professor, University of Virginia, Corcoran Department of Philosophy
  • Ira Burnim, Director, Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health
  • Matthew Dietz, Litigation Director, Disability Independence Group
  • Susan Einspar, Senior Parent Educator/Advocate, PACER Center
  • Aaron J. Fischer, Litigation Counsel, Disability Rights California
  • Maria Foscarinis, Founder and Executive Director, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
  • Katharine Gordon, Disability Immigration Rights Attorney
  • Paul Harpur, Senior Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland
  • Eve Hill, Partner, Brown Goldstein & Levy, LLP
  • Catherine J. Kudlick, Director, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, and Professor of History, San Francisco State University
  • Scott LaBarre, Partner, LaBarre Law Offices, PC
  • Lycette Nelson, Partner, Law Office of Lycette Nelson
  • Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, Senior Policy Counsel, Trans/GNC Justice Project, and Disability Justice Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force
  • Michael Ashley Stein, Co-founder and Executive Director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School
  • Mark C. Weber, Vincent DePaul Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law
  • Naomi Weinstein, Attorney, Mental Hygiene Legal Service
  • David Yamada, Professor of Law and Director, New Hampshire Workplace Institute, Suffolk University Law School

2019 Agenda

We invite you to review the agenda for the 2019 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium.

2019 Presentation Materials

2019 Symposium Sponsors


Brown Goldstein Levy logo.


Disability Rights Advocates logo.


Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP logo.


Derby, McGuinness & Goldsmith, LLP logo.


AARP Foundation Litigation
Burton Blatt Institute
Law School Admission Council
Pearson, Inc.
Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP
Whiteford, Taylor & Preston

White Cane

Mid-Atlantic ADA Center


Goldstein Borgen Dardarian & Ho
LaBarre Law Offices
Lainey Feingold
Law Office of John F. Waldo

Sponsorship Opportunities

Your support of the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will help shape the future of disability law and ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same right to live in the world as their non-disabled peers. To become a sponsor of the 2020 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, please contact Anna Adler at 410-659-9314, extension 2282, or aadler@nfb.org.

CLE Credit

Documentation for CLE credits will be provided.

Steering Committee Members

  • Lou Ann Blake, Deputy Executive Director, Committee Chair, National Federation of the Blind Blindness Initiatives
  • Stacie F. Dubnow, Esquire, Project Manager, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
  • Charles S. Brown, Esquire
  • Matthew W. Dietz, Litigation Director, Disability Independence Group, Inc.
  • Robert Dinerstein, Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Experiential Education, American University Washington College of Law
  • Timothy Elder, Esquire, TRE Legal Practice, LLC
  • David Ferleger, Esquire, Law Office of David Ferleger
  • Leslie P. Francis, Distinguished Professor, University of Utah College of Law
  • Jasmine Harris, Acting Professor of Law, UC Davis Law School
  • Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, Managing Partner, Brown, Goldstein & Levy
  • Scott LaBarre, LaBarre Law Offices, PC
  • Anil Lewis, Executive Director, National Federation of the Blind Blindness Initiatives
  • Michael Perlin, Professor Emeritus, New York Law School

Dr. Jacobus tenBroek's Publications

Dr. tenBroek's publications and speeches are as relevant and compelling today as they were decades ago. The archives in the Jacobus tenBroek Library are home to Dr. tenBroek’s collected works, and a detailed description of his personal and professional papers is available in THE CANE TIP. An accessible digital exhibit focused on Dr. tenBroek’s life and work is also available through Digital Maryland. For more information or to schedule a research appointment, please send an email to jtblibrary@nfb.org or call 410-659-9314.

[A]s to the immutability of social attitudes and discriminatory actions towards the blind, we know from intimate experience that the sighted public wishes well for the blind and that its misconceptions are rather the result of innocence and superstition than of deliberate cruelty and malice aforethought. It is not the education of the sighted only which is needed to establish the right of the blind to equality and integration. Just as necessary is the education of the blind themselves. For the process of their rehabilitation ... is complete only when they have driven the last vestige of the public stereotype of the blind from their own minds. In this sense, and to this extent only, is it true that the blind person must "adjust" to his handicap and to society. His adjustment need not—indeed must not—mean his submission to all prevailing social norms and values. His goal is not conformity but autonomy: not acquiescence, but self-determination and self control. — Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

Past Symposia

Review text and audio highlights from previous Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposia on the past symposia page.

More Information

For more information regarding the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, please contact:

Lou Ann Blake, Deputy Executive Director, Blindness Initiatives, National Federation of the Blind
Phone: 410-659-9314, extension 2221
Email: lblake@nfb.org

Stacie Dubnow, Project Manager, National Federation of the Blind
Phone: 410-659-9314, extension 2442
Email: sdubnow@nfb.org