Arlene Mayerson


Arlene Mayerson
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)

For over 35 years Arlene Mayerson has been a leading attorney in disability rights law, including playing a key role in drafting and negotiating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), litigating precedent setting disability rights cases and teaching disability rights law.

Arlene B. Mayerson has been Directing Attorney of the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund since 1981. In addition to her behind the scenes role developing language for the provisions of the ADA and its legislative history, Mayerson provided expert testimony before several Congressional committees with jurisdiction over the ADA and filed comments on the Department of Justice ADA regulations for over 500 disability rights organizations. Mayerson has also litigated historic disability rights cases, including precedent for the inclusion of public school children with disabilities in general education classrooms, and the landmark Netflix decision that internet-only businesses are covered by the ADA. She has also provided representation, consultation to counsel, and coordination of amicus briefs on key disability rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mayerson was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to the Civil Rights Reviewing Authority, responsible for reviewing the civil rights decisions of the department. She is a John and Elizabeth Boalt lecturer in disability law at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall), and serves on the Advisory Committee of The Impact Fund. Her several awards and honors include the Spirit of Independence Leading Advocate Award from the Center for Independent Living (1993), the American Diabetes Association Public Policy Award (1997), the John and Elizabeth Boalt Lecturer Award (2013), the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award (2015), the Starkloff Disability Institute’s Open Door Award (2015), and the ABA Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights (2016).

She has published many articles on disability rights and is the author of a comprehensive three-volume treatise on the ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act Annotated-Legislative History, Regulations & Commentary (Clark Boardman Callaghan, 1994). Arlene Mayerson received her LL.M. from Georgetown University, J.D. from Boalt Hall, and B.S. from Boston University.