Disability Law Research Guide

Cindy Hirsch
Law Library Fellow

Overview | Bibliographies | Encyclopedia & Treatises | Searching | Law Library Catalog | Databases | Online Resources | Keeping Up-to-Date


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.

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


Encylopediae and Treatises

  • Encyclopedia of Disability / general editor, Gary L. Albrecht. Available online from Sage Reference—Briefly describes current laws enacted and social impact of the laws. With sections on disability law in CanadaEuropeGermanyIndiaSweden, and the United States. Excellent Reader's Guide to Related Topics and Titles with a short bibliography following each section. Also see sections on "legal issues" and "advocacy and political action".
  • Federal Disability Law in a Nutshell, Ruth Colker & Adam Milani (West/Thomson 2010). Location: Law Reserve KF 480 .C64 2010.—Part of the succinct Nutshell series, the title focuses on changes to legislation, primarily at the federal and state level. Also provides networking information.
  • Disabilities & the Law, Laura Rothstein & Julia Rothstein (4th ed. 2011). Available online via Westlaw: DISABLAW (requires Westlaw account)—A one-volume treatise by a law professor with over 24 years experience. Provides a comprehensive overview of the rights of persons with disabilities in primary, secondary, and higher education, employment, public accommodations and public services, housing, transportation, and health care. Current through the Fourth Edition 2011-12 supplement issued October 2011. Updated semi-annually.
  • AMJUR 2d and CJS—American Jurisprudence 2d & Corpus Juris Secondum are the two major legal encyclopedia, available in print on the 1st floor and in Westlaw. You may find pieces of disability law under topics such as civil rights, education, employment and rehabilitation; however, disability is not treated as a separate subject.
  • Perspectives on Disability, Discrimination, Accommodations, and Law: A Comparison of the Canadian and American Experience, Wayne Thomas Oakes [electronic resource]. (LFB Scholarly Pub. 2005). Available online.
  • Understanding Disability Law, Mark C. Weber (2007).(Requires Lexis account). Just the Table of Contents and Chapter 1 are available online on Lexis, but it gives a good overview.
  • 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—This guide helps law students with learning disabilities navigate the law school learning environment, access services for disabilities, and succeed in law school. Contains tips for assessing learning style, preparing for class, reading legal materials, writing to legal standards, and organization.



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



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.


Law Library Catalog

Suggested Subject Searches

Suggested Keyword Searches

  • (Disability OR Disabled) AND Law
  • Handicap AND Law




Authoritative Websites


Keeping Up-to-Date

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 see "What is RSS" at USA.gov.


The Disability Law Lowdown 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, American Sign Language (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.

Research Category

Research Guides


Family Law

Health Law

Human Rights

Employment & Labor Law