Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium

"The Impact of Public Attitudes and Stigma on Our Right to Live in the World” 

Portrait of Jacobus tenBroek

“[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." -- Jacobus tenBroek

Join us as we examine Dr. Jacobus tenBroek’s extraordinary legacy through a social lens, exploring the intersection of law and public attitudes about disability. We will focus 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.

Finally, we will explore strategies for combatting the stigma attributed to persons with disabilities by, among other methods, exploring how we frame the image of disability in advocacy.


March 28-29, 2019


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


Please register here for the 2019 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium.

Registration Fee: $200 (nonrefundable)
Students: $25 (nonrefundable)

All registration is online. Payment may be made by credit card or check made payable to the National Federation of the Blind and mailed to:

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

A limited number of scholarships to cover the registration fee will be available to individuals with demonstrated financial need. Requests for a waiver of the registration fee should be emailed to Lou Ann Blake no later than February 11, 2019.

Topics and Speakers

The 2019 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will consist of plenary sessions and workshops facilitated by distinguished law professors, practitioners, and advocates who will discuss 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; and bullying, harassment, and the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Presenters include:

  • 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
  • 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, P.C.
  • 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


The agenda for the 2019 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium is attached.

CLE Credit

Documentation for CLE credits will be provided.

Hotel Information

A block of rooms has been reserved for law symposium participants at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore, located at 550 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. The hotel is directly across from the Inner Harbor and is convenient to the Jernigan Institute. Rooms may be reserved for March 26 through March 30, 2019, at the rate of $159.00 per night for singles or doubles, $179.00 for triples, and $199.00 for quads, plus applicable taxes and surcharges. You can make your reservation online at Sonesta Reservations or by calling the hotel directly at 410-234-0550, referring to the National Federation of the Blind block, group code 0326NATFED. Reservations must be made by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 26, 2019. The NFB will provide a free morning and evening accessible shuttle between the hotel and the Jernigan Institute. 


Symposium materials will be provided in large print and Braille.

Participants who require other accommodations should contact Lou Ann Blake by March 9, 2019.

More Information

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

Lou Ann Blake, Deputy Executive Director, Jernigan Institute
National Federation of the Blind
Phone: 410-659-9314, extension 2221

Stacie Dubnow, Project Manager
National Federation of the Blind
Phone: 410-659-9314, extension 2442

Dr. Jacobus tenBroek's Publications

We encourage you to explore the impressive legacy of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, whose 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 database. An accessible digital exhibit focused on Dr. tenBroek’s life and work is also available online through Digital Maryland. For more information or to schedule a research appointment, please send an email to [email protected] or call 410-659-9314, extension 2310.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Your support of the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will help to shape the future of disability law and ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same right to live in the world as their nondisabled peers. Sponsorship opportunities are available at a variety of levels. Based on the level you choose, you will receive one or more tickets to the symposium, advertising space in the symposium program, and your logo on this webpage. To become a sponsor of the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, please download the 2019 sponsorship form and return it to: [email protected]. Please contact Anna Adler at 410-659-9314, extension 2282 if you have any questions. 

Steering Committee Members

  • Lou Ann Blake, deputy executive director, committee chair, National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
  • 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 Jernigan Institute
  • Michael Perlin, professor emeritus, New York Law School

Previous Symposia Archive

2018 Audio Recording
2018 Transcript Day 1
2018 Transcript Day 2

2017 Audio Recording
2017 Transcript Day 1
2017 Transcript Day 2

2016 Audio Recording
2016 Transcript Day 1
2016 Transcript Day 2

2015 Audio Recording
2015 Transcript Day 1
2015 Transcript Day 2

2014 Audio Recording
2014 Transcript Day 1
2014 Transcript Day 2

2013 Audio Recording

2012 Audio Recording
2012 Transcript Day 1
2012 Transcript Day 2

2011 Audio Recording
2011 Transcript Day 1
2011 Transcript Day 2

2010 Audio Recording
2010 Transcript

2009 Audio Recording

2008 Audio Recording
2008 Transcript Morning Session
2008 Transcript Keynote
2008 Transcript Afternoon Session