Tue Sep 02 2014   

Disability Law Research Guide

Cindy Hirsch, Law Library Fellow

This guide is prepared for use by University of Arizona Law students and contains links that require a University-issued ID.

Overview of Disability Law

Disability law is an interdisciplinary field encompassing health, social services, civil rights, discrimination, rehabilitation, employment and education. It may be useful to extend your search beyond federal and state law to critical race theory and minority cultures. This guide is a starting point for resources; keep in mind that interdisciplinary legal research may require non-legal resources.

Text hyperlinks will take you to material located in the Cracchiolo Law Library at the University of Arizona College of Law. Students attending the law school have access to materials by using your University ID within the Online Library Catalog (SABIO), WebAUTH ID, or your accounts with Westlaw and Lexis.


Encyclopedia of Disability [electronic resource] / general editor, Gary L. Albrecht. Located in Sage Reference Online:  http://www.sage-ereference.com/view/disability/SAGE.xml

Federal Disability Law in a Nutshell, Ruth Colker & Adam Milani (West/Thomson 2010). Location:  Law Reserve KF 480 .C64 2010.

Disabilities & the Law, Laura Rothstein & Julia Rothstein (4th ed. 2011). Westlaw database:  DISABLAW (requires Westlaw account).

AMJUR 2d and CJS

Perspectives on Disability, Discrimination, Accommodations, and Law:  A Comparison of the Canadian and American Experience, Wayne Thomas Oakes [electronic resource]. (LFB Scholarly Pub. 2005).

Understanding Disability Law, Mark C. Weber (2007).(Requires Lexis account).

Learning Outside the Box:  A Handbook for Law Students Who Learn Differently, Leah M. Christensen (Carolina Academic Press, 2011). Location:  Law KF 283 .C48 2011.


Bibliographies are collections of sources prepared by experts in the field. Also look for bibliographies in the encyclopedia and treatises listed above, at the end of book chapters, in book appendixes, and at the end of journal articles.

Disability Bibliographies

General Bibliography (interdisciplinary)


Westlaw and Lexis (“Wexis”) are sophisticated searching tools for legal materials that can be searched by topic, keywords, or natural language (WestlawNext and LexisAdvance). Help can be found in the LexisNexis Boolean Searching Wiki and Westlaw Research Tip: Searching with Boolean Operators and Connectors. We recommend that you acquire some general knowledge of the topic before paying for Wexis searches. While you are a student, you may access these services at no cost. Become familiar with both services because many employers subscribe to only one. Suggested Wexis searches are listed under “DATABASES.” For a more thorough guide to legal research in general see Thurgood Marshall Law Library Guide to Legal Research 2010-2011 and your 1L course materials.

Older articles may not be available through electronic resources. The library’s collection of print law journals is located in the Periodicals section in the Lower Level, organized alphabetically. Materials which are not available in the Library’s collection may be requested by interlibrary loan (ILL). Please ask at the Circulation Desk.

The Library of Congress Call Number for all legal materials starts with “K” and most are found in “KF.” Due to its interdisciplinary nature, volumes are often located under a specific area of disability law – such as “social security,” “worker’s compensation,” “Americans with Disability Act,” “accommodation,” “accessibility,” “employment,” “education,” “civil rights,” “discrimination,” etc.

Materials on disability rights in general are available in the Main Library under call letters HV.


Suggested Subject Searches:

Suggested Keyword Searches:


Westlaw> Search by Topic> Disability:  This search returns texts, treatises and other material that include disability law. You may also search Westlaw using the Key Number digest system.

Lexis> Search by Topic> “Disability”:  This search returns insurance law, workers’ compensation, labor & employment law, education law and public health and welfare.

Hein Law Journal Library (Hein), Westlaw, and Lexis have collections of law review, law journal and other scholarly analysis on a broad range of topics.

SSRN Journal on Disability Law e-jounal (Syracuse University):  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/JELJOUR_Results.cfm?form_name=journalBrowse&journal_id=915926

UA Databases (restricted access):


Disability/Handicapped Law and Legal Issues, University of Washington, WashLaw Web:  http://www.washlaw.edu/subject/disability.html

Disability Law, Research Guide, H. Douglas Barclay Law Library, Syracuse University College of Law Disability Law & Policy Program:  http://www.law.syr.edu/_assets/documents/library-documents/disability-law-guide-2010.pdf

U.S. Department of Justice Guide to Disability Rightshttp://www.justice.gov/crt/about/drs/

National Council on Disabilityhttp://www.ncd.gov/resources

American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rightshttp://www.americanbar.org/groups/disabilityrights.html

Federal Legislative History Research:  A Practioner's Guide to Compiling the Documents and Sifting for Legislative Intent (Law Librarian’s Society of Washington, D.C.):  http://www.llsdc.org/Fed-Leg-Hist/


The following items include topical discussions and information services. Subscriptions are by email and archives are often searchable.


As technology advances, blogs are increasing replacing newsletters and other serial services for current updates and discussions of the law. “BLAWGS” are blogs that discuss legal topics. Blawgs may alert you to breaking law changes and newly decided cases. Keep in mind that Blawgs are also used as marketing tools. Investigate the author’s background and the blog’s purpose before citing a blog. Frequently, readers use an RSS reader to subscribe to blog posts. For more information about RSS, see USA.gov/Reference_Shelf/Libraries/RSS_Library/What_Is_RSS?.

Disability Law Blog, Samuel R Bagenstos:  http://disabilitylaw.blogspot.com/

Reputable sites that list disability blawgs:


The Disability Law Lowdown (http://disabilitylawlowdown.com/) is a series of podcasts on Disability Rights and Laws from a consortium of ten regional disability centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The podcasts are intended for lay audiences and are available in English, Spanish, ASL, and text-to-speech compatible transcripts.

Recorded webinars (CLE) are also available (for a fee) from the American Bar Association, as well as state and local bar associations.

If you need assistance finding topics and resources, please contact one the law librarians.

Page Updated:  21 March 2012