Barry Taylor is the Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation at Equip for Equality, where has worked since 1996. At Equip for Equality, he has overseen many individual and systemic disability discrimination cases including successful federal ADA suits against the National Board of Medical Examiners, the Chicago Police Department, and the Chicago Transit Authority. He is currently co-counsel in five ADA class actions, including lead counsel in Ligas v. Hamos, a class action on behalf of people with developmental disabilities who are seeking community services. Barry has given numerous presentations on the ADA across the country to people with disabilities, attorneys, employers, businesses, service providers and advocacy organizations.
Barry has served as the Chairperson of the Disability Rights Consortium, Chairperson of Season of Concern, Chairperson of the Legal Committee for the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Associationís Legal Aid Committee, Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Associationís Mental Health and Disability Law Committee, Co-Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Foundationís Pro Bono Week and Chairperson of the Regional Transit Authorityís ADA Advisory Committee. He has been an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall Law School, and in 2001, Chicago Lawyer Magazine named him one of ď40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch.Ē Recently, he was appointed to serve on Senator Dick Durbinís Bipartisan Screening Committee for Federal Judges in the Northern District of Illinois.
Prior to coming to Equip for Equality, Barry was the AIDS Project Attorney in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal working to advance the civil rights of people living with HIV/ AIDS. His caseload included a successful challenge to discriminatory inquiries by the Chicago Public Schools on teacher applications.
From 1988 - 1993, Barry was a litigation associate at the Chicago law firm of Peterson & Ross. He is a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, where he also received his undergraduate degree in 1985.
Alan Goldstein is a Senior Attorney at Equip for Equality (EFE), the Illinois Protection and Advocacy agency for people with disabilities. At EFE, Alan manages the PABSS Project (Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security), which provides training, outreach, and advocacy for Social Security Beneficiaries who desire to work. He also manages the Illinois ADA Project which provides Americans with Disabilities Act information and trainings to businesses, judges, attorneys, service providers, people with disabilities, government agencies, and other organizations.
Mr. Goldstein is a graduate of the DePaul University College of Law and the University of Illinois, Champaign, where he received a Bachelor of Art's degree in Economics. He has been practicing law for over 20 years and has been handling disability related cases for over 15 years. Mr. Goldstein has experience in federal, state, and administrative litigation. Mr. Goldsteinís volunteer work includes being named as a coach of the 1996 U.S. Paralympic Powerlifting Team.
Brian graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1977. He worked at legal aid for two years, and in private practice for 14 years, before joining Advocacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. Brian has handled a number of disability-discrimination and disability-rights cases in state and federal court, and has written and lectured extensively on these issues.
Brian is currently a Board Member of both the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and the Texas Employment Lawyers Association (TELA). He also is the Chair of NELA's Disability Rights Committee, serves on the Legal Advocacy Subcommittee of the American Diabetes Association, and in the past has served on the legal committees of the National Disability Rights Network and of AIDS Services of Austin. He is the co-author and editor of the chapter on "Workers with Disabilities" in the Employee & Union Member Guide to Labor Law (Thompson/West). Brian was named a "SuperLawyer" by Texas Monthly magazine for 2003-2009, and he received the 2003 Excellence in Public Interest award from the Texas Law Fellowships, and the 2008 Martha Arbuckle Meritorious Service Award from the Austin Mayor's Committee for People with Disabilities.
Deborah L. Hamilton works as a trial attorney in the Chicago District Office of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a position she has held since the spring of 2001. Ms. Hamilton is 1992 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1996. Prior to joining the EEOC, Ms. Hamilton practiced law at Jones Day Reavis & Pogue and served as a law clerk for The Honorable Harry T. Edwards, at the time the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then for The Honorable Justice David H. Souter of the United States Supreme Court.
While working at the EEOC, Ms. Hamilton was part of the team that litigated EEOC's age discrimination suit against the law firm of Sidley & Austin, which settled for $27.5 million in the fall of 2007. Ms. Hamilton also served on the trial team in EEOC v. Custom Companies, which won a $2.35 million jury verdict for three female sales representatives in a sexual harassment case. Ms. Hamilton is currently one of the EEOC trial attorneys litigating a class Americans with Disabilities Act case against Supervalu. The Supervalu case follows the recent $6.3 million settlement of a class Americans with Disabilities Act case against Sears, which Ms. Hamilton also litigated.
C. Talley Wells is an Attorney and Director of the Mental Health and Disability Rights Project at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc. He advocates for housing and services in the community on behalf of clients with disabilities who are confined in Georgia institutions and nursing homes or who are at risk of institutionalization. His focus is enforcing the United States Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which held that individuals with disabilities have the right to live in the most integrated setting under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Talley and his wife, Laura, are part of a group working to open a L'Arche community for adults with developmental disabilities in Atlanta. He is the Treasurer of the Georgia Behavioral Health Coalition and a board member of the Georgia Supportive Housing Association and The Center for Working Families. He is a 2011 alumnus of Leadership Atlanta. He attended Duke University and Duke School of Law. Talley is a former skipper on the world famous Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World.
J. Aaron McCullough is an ADA consultant, licensed attorney, and former social worker who has spent his entire adult life working in the interests of people with disabilities, and promoting compliance with civil rights law. Aaron is a member of the Disability Issues Committee of the State Bar of Texas, and is an active contributor and volunteer for various disability nonprofits and charities. As a former small business owner, he is sensitive to the difficulties of the complex regulatory compliance picture facing those doing business with the general public. As a professional, he is keenly aware of the pitfalls facing those providing services in this litigious age. As a citizen with friends, family and colleagues with disabilities he is committed to making sure that the resources of the business community, and the public sector with responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act are spent on compliance, and not just defense. He is committed to the philosophy that affirmative compliance, disability awareness, and proper planning not only promotes more and better accessibility for the public in general, but is also the best manner with which address the economic realities of running a business, or conducting the business of a public entity. His company, ADAConsult Services provides consultation services and assistance on a variety of disability compliance and accessibility related issues.
Professor Jeannette Cox's research focuses on disability and employment discrimination. Her recent work analyzes the conceptual relationship between the newly amended Americans with Disabilities Act and traditional civil rights laws. Professor Cox's work has been published in the North Carolina Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, San Diego Law Review, Florida Law Review and Boston College Law Review. At UDSL, Professor Cox teaches courses in employment discrimination, civil procedure and statutory interpretation. She also serves as faculty advisor for the Disability Law Association. In 2008, Professor Cox was a visiting professor at Notre Dame Law School. Before joining the University of Dayton School of Law faculty in 2006, Professor Cox clerked for Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Dean Joseph O'Meara Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and served as an article editor for the Notre Dame Law Review.
Martin S. "Marty" Ebel is the Deputy Director of the Houston District Office of the EEOC. Before joining the EEOC, he was General Counsel, and later, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), where he ran the Commission's Springfield office, directed the agency's employment testing project, spearheaded a review and revision of the agency's regulations, and adjudicated employment discrimination cases. Before coming to Texas, Ebel was twice named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer. Prior to joining the EEOC and MCAD, he practiced discrimination law for more than a decade. Mr. Ebel's private practice included employment law for both management and employee clients, as well as defending public accommodation lawsuits. He has appeared before state and federal trial and appellate courts and has written, argued, and won two cases that were included in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's list of "The Most Important Opinions of 2001." Before moving to Houston, Mr. Ebel was also an adjunct professor at Boston College Law School where he taught Employment Discrimination. Ebel also lectured and conducted seminars before numerous businesses and organizations. He was a regular member of the faculty of the Massachusetts Bar Association's annual employment and labor conference and the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Foundation's Employment Law Conference. He has been a featured speaker on multiple panels for the EEOC's annual FEPA conferences. Ebel is a 1994 graduate of Boston College Law School, where he was a member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team and was honored with the St. Thomas More Award-the Law School's highest award. He is the Immediate Past-President of the Law School's Alumni Association.
Joe Bontke is the Outreach Manager and Ombudsman for the Houston District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He currently serves as chair of the Texas Governorís Committee on People with Disabilities. Mr. Bontke has been in the field of Human Resources & Civil Rights for the past 24 years and has experience in employment law and adult education. With a Bachelorís in Philosophy and a Masters in Education, he has been a Human Resources Director, a Training Coordinator for the American Disabilities Act (ADA) Technical Assistance Center for Federal Region VI, was appointed as Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine and served as Vice Chair of the Governorís Committee before his appointment to Chair. Using his entertaining style, Mr. Bontke has educated groups throughout the country and most recently, his work at the EEOC has enabled him to empower employers and employees with the understanding they need to work effectively at their jobs. Mr. Bontkeís philosophy of education is that 90% of knowing is where to find the information when you need it.
Erin Lawler is a licensed Texas attorney with a focus in disability rights. She serves as the Accessibility and Disability Rights Coordinator for the Texas Governorís Committee on People with Disabilities. Ms. Lawler is also a member of the Disability Issues Committee of the State Bar of Texas and an experienced mediator. She earned a Juris Doctor degree with honors from Notre Dame Law School, a Master of Science with honors from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts from American University, where she graduated phi beta kappa.
Jacquie Brennan is an attorney whose practice has always focused on disability law issues. Her interest in disability law started with her nine children, the youngest five of whom are adopted and have different kinds of disabilities. Advocating for their civil rights as people with disabilities made her want to become a lawyer. She is a 1997 graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. In addition to her private practice, she is the Director of the Paralegal Program at the University of Houston. She serves on the Bioethics Committee of Texas Children's Hospital, and is the President of the Board of A Simple Thread, a non-profit organization that helps Houstonians who are homeless. She is the author of The Disability Law Handbook.
Rachel Weisberg is a Staff Attorney at Equip for Equality where she litigates individual and systemic disability discrimination cases under Titles I, II and III of the ADA. Rachel also manages the Illinois ADA Project which provides ADA information and trainings to businesses, judges, attorneys, service providers, people with disabilities, government agencies, and other organizations.
Prior to Equip for Equality, Rachel worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau and Disability Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney Generalís Office, a labor and employment associate at Sidley Austin LLP, and a law clerk for Chief Judge James G. Carr in the Northern District of Ohio. Before law school, Rachel worked as an ADA technical assistance specialist at the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, and during law school interned with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a 2008 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, and a 2003 graduate of the University of Michigan.
Judy Spalding received her law degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas. She is also a graduate of the University of Austin with a Bachelor degree in Journalism. She is licensed by the State of Texas Supreme Court and has also served as both Chair and Vice Chair of the State Bar of Texas Disability Issues Committee from 2007-2012. Licensed since 1985, she currently practices and provides consultation on disability and family law related issues in Austin, Texas.
Denette Vaughn is a Senior Attorney with Disability Rights Texas, an organization federally mandated to advocate for and protect the rights of people with disabilities.
Denette received a BA in Speech Communications and a BS in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1978. She received her JD from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1981. She previously served as the Narcotics Prosecutor, Civil Division Chief and Juvenile Division Chief for the Lubbock County District Attorney's office.
Subsequent to her days as a prosecutor, Denette was in private practice for 12 years working mainly in the areas of Criminal, Family, Employment and Civil Service law. Much of her practice involved representing police officers and firefighters in employment disputes.
Denette has also served as an adjunct professor for the Texas Tech School of Law, Wayland Baptist University, Lubbock Christian University and South Plains College. She teaches courses in disability law, criminal law, business law, sociology and communications. Additionally she has worked as an instructor with the South Plains Association of Governments Police Academy.
Denette has worked in the area of disability law since 1998 when she became employed at Advocacy Inc. (now DRTX). Currently she handles cases primarily in the areas of housing, employment, accessibility and transportation. She has handled several cases involving individuals with disabilities who have been denied access to public accommodations due to the presence of a service animal.
Elaine Roberts is currently the Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Inc.(DRC), a 501c(3) organization which provides alternative dispute resolution services and training to residents of Montgomery and surrounding counties in Texas. The DRC provides mediation services for a variety of disputes including disability related issues such as employment, education and access disputes.
Elaine received her law degree from the University of Houston Law School and has over 20 years of experience as an attorney and mediator of disability related disputes in the private, public and non-profit settings. She was one of the attorneys in the Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line case (Title III cruise line case), is a former managing attorney and legal director for the Texas P&A and served as the Division Manager for the Houston Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. She has previously represented individuals with disabilities who were excluded from Title II or Title III facilities due to the need for service animal assistance in administrative proceedings and mediations.
Elaine is a former adjunct professor of disability law at the University of Houston Law Center and instructor on disability access issues for the Texas Municipal Courts Center. She also received the 2013 HPD Neighborhood Hero Award for her assistance in providing visual fire alarms to 1,000 families of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Elaine is also an active member of the State Bar of Texas Disability Issues Committee where she chairs the Communication Access Subcommittee and is on the Homeless and Veterans\' Issues Subcommittees. She was the Disability Issues Committee liaison for the Boots Law video regarding service animal law in Texas and has assisted in training police officers in the amendments to Chapter 121 of the Texas Human Resources Code dealing with service animals.