New York Law School now offers an online Master of Arts in Mental Disability Law Studies and a Certificate in Advanced Mental Disability Law Studies—the only degree and certificate of their kind to be offered by an American Bar Association-approved law school.
The new degree and certificate are the latest innovations in the Law School’s Online Mental Disability Law Program, established in 2000. The program began with a single course and has now grown to include thirteen separate courses, offered at New York Law School and, through partnerships, at other law schools in the U.S. and abroad. It was developed by internationally renowned expert Professor Michael L. Perlin and is based on his extensive research, teaching, and advocacy in the area of mental disability law (see About the Director webpage).
“The new master’s degree is the appropriate next step in the Online Mental Disability Law Program, which has been thriving under the direction of Professor Perlin,” Dean and President Richard A. Matasar said. “New York Law School’s undertaking to further educate those who work on behalf of people with mental disabilities demonstrates our commitment to teaching the law so that people can take action.”
The 30-credit master’s degree program offers professionals who represent or work with people with mental disabilities valuable information about this complex and increasingly important area of the law. It provides them with the tools needed to effectively represent their clients, and significantly contributes to an environment in which competent representation becomes the norm, not an aberration.
The Online Mental Disability Law Program is the most diverse program offered at any law school or university. It offers the broadest array of courses focused on mental disability of any U.S. law school, it serves multiple audiences—both domestically and internationally—of attorneys, forensic psychologists, psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, human rights workers, advocates, activists, and others. It allows and encourages students to become involved at multiple levels, from completing an individual course to entering into the certificate program to seeking the Master of Arts degree.
New York Law School specifically conceived of the degree as a Master of Arts, rather than a Master of Laws (LL.M.), in the hopes and expectations of involving nonlawyers in the program. In the first eight years of the Online Mental Disability Law Program, many psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, government officials, and international human rights activists have taken individual courses. The success of the program’s beginnings has resulted in a rich professional make-up of the first master’s degree class which includes psychologists, social workers, lawyers, a patient advocate with an MBA degree, and a philosophy graduate student . This diversity in the student body is moreover reflected in the faculty. Teachers include law professors, practicing lawyers, forensic psychologists, practicing psychologists and psychiatrists, academic psychologists, and individuals with degrees in law-and-psychology, law-and-social-work, and law-and-psychiatry.
Besides the new master’s degree, students have the opportunity to take individual, 14-week courses or pursue the 15-credit Certificate in Advanced Mental Disability Law. This program was specifically created for the students who wish to pursue their graduate studies in this area but do not want to “commit” to a full graduate degree program.
For more information about requirements of the master’s degree
and certificate, you are invited to explore our web pages.
For more information, please contact:
Liane J. Bass, Esq.
Online Mental Disability Law Program
New York Law School
185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013