Area of Expertise
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); mental disability; special education; the criminal justice system; issues of capacity of people with disabilities; human rights of people with disabilities; legal education; lawyering process and skills
Robert Dinerstein is director of WCL's Disability Rights Law Clinic and of WCL’s nationally recognized clinical program. He specializes in the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability statutes, the rights of people with intellectual disabilities (mental retardation) and mental or psychosocial disorders, civil rights, lawyer-client issues, clinical legal education, and general aspects of legal education. He was the law school's associate dean for academic affairs from 1997 to 2004. He directed WCL's clinical program from 1988 to 1996 and returned to the position in 2008. Dinerstein was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the President's Committee on Mental Retardation from 1994 to 2001. Prior to joining AU, Dinerstein worked as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, where he handled federal court cases on the rights of people institutionalized in mental hospitals, institutions for people with intellectual disabilities, and juvenile training schools. Dinerstein currently is president of the board of directors of the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities Inc. and is on the boards of Advocates for Justice Education, the Equal Rights Center, and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless Inc. He previously served on the boards of the District of Columbia Bar, the Society of American Law Teachers, Disability Rights International, Maryland Disability Law Center, and Legal Counsel for the Elderly. He is very actively involved with national legal education issues within the American Bar Association (where he is an elected member of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar 2006–2011) and the Association of American Law Schools (where he has served as chair of the Section on Clinical Legal Education, among other positions). Dinerstein has written and presented extensively on disability law and clinical legal education subjects. He is coauthor and coeditor of A Guide to Consent (American Association on Mental Retardation, 1999), which addresses issues of capacity and consent in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. He is coauthor of Lawyers and Clients: Critical Issues in Interviewing and Counseling (Thomson Reuters, 2009). He is the winner of the William Pincus Award (AALS Section on Clinical Legal Educations, 2010) and (with Ann Shalleck) the Egon Guttman Casebook Award (WCL, 2011–12).