The New Boys: Women with Disabilities and the Legal Profession

93 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2008 Last revised: 10 Aug 2011

See all articles by Carrie Griffin Basas

Carrie Griffin Basas

Harvard University - Law School - Alumni; University of Washington - College of Education

Date Written: October 27, 2009


This article fuses the fields of law, feminist theory, and cultural studies to examine the status of women attorneys with disabilities. It is the first study of its kind in the United States. The author conducted an empirical, qualitative, and ethnographic study of women attorneys with disabilities in the United States. Thirty-eight attorneys participated and their narratives form the basis for critical analysis of disability animus and discrimination in the legal profession. The results show an alarming trend toward disabled women attorneys self-accommodating in the workplace, rather than enforcing their employment rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Relying on the scholarship of covering, passing, and mitigation conducted in the law and social sciences, the author advances theories about ableism in the legal profession, particularly with regard to disabled women. These theories inform and complement strategies for increasing overall diversity in the legal profession. She suggests litigation and professional culture-based measures for improving the status of disabled women attorneys and all attorneys stigmatized by perceived differences.

Keywords: legal profession, employment and labor law, disability rights, feminist theory, women in the law

Suggested Citation

Basas, Carrie Griffin, The New Boys: Women with Disabilities and the Legal Profession (October 27, 2009). Berkeley Gender Law Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Carrie Griffin Basas (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Law School - Alumni ( email )

5163 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Washington - College of Education ( email )

Seattle, WA
United States

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