National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy


Steven J. Schwartz, J.D.

Steven J. Schwartz is the Legal Director and former Executive Director of the Center for Public Representation. He has practiced disability and civil rights law since 1972. He has extensive experience litigating class action cases related to the reform and development of community services systems for persons with disabilities, as well as civil rights damage cases for institutionalized persons. He currently is litigating nine community integration class action cases in Arizona, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Massachusetts, and recently concluded cases in Connecticut and Florida. Mr. Schwartz has authored a number of law review articles related to issues affecting the rights of persons with disabilities and has testified before Congress on several occasions. He has been on the faculty of the Harvard and Western New England Law Schools. Mr. Schwartz also provides litigation support and technical assistance to attorneys throughout the United States on mental disability issues. Center for Public Representation in Northampton, Massachusetts.  He has practiced disability and civil rights law since 1972. Mr. Schwartz has extensive experience litigating class action cases related to the reform and development of community services systems for persons with disabilities, as well as civil rights damage cases for institutionalized persons. He currently is litigating nine community integration class action cases in Arizona, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Massachusetts, and recently concluded cases in Connecticut and Florida. Mr. Schwartz has authored a number of law review articles related to issues affecting the rights of persons with disabilities and has testified before Congress on several occasions. He has been on the faculty of the Harvard and Western New England Law Schools. Mr. Schwartz also provides litigation support and technical assistance to attorneys throughout the United States on mental disability issues.  


Books and Articles by Steven J. Schwartz

“Social Control Through the Law,” 49 Psychiatric Services 1099 (1998)(book review)

“Abolishing Competency as a Construction of Difference: A Radical Proposal to Promote the Equality of Persons with Disabilities,” 47 Miami Law Rev. 867 (1993)

“Legal Challenges to Discrimination Against Women with Alcohol Disabilities: Punishment For No Crime,” 76 Massachusetts Bar J. 229 (1991)

“Establishing Standards for Care of Persons with Disabilities through Damage Actions,” 17 New York U. Rev. of Law and Social Change 651 (1990)

“Protection and Advocacy for People Who are Labeled Mentally Ill,” Chapter in Advocacy in Institutions (l987)

“Compulsory Community Treatment: Distorted Doctrines and Violated Values,” 20 Loyola L. R. 1329 (l987)(with Cathy E. Costanzo)

“Equal Protection Principles in Medical Care to People With Disabilities: Informed Consent, Not The Right to Refuse,” chapter in Symposium on Right to Refuse Treatment, American Bar Association, Commission on the Mentally Disabled (1985)

New Community Opportunities for People With Retardation: Legal Manual for Consumers, Families, and Workers (l985) (co-author) "Rights of Institutionalized Persons," in Guardianships, Conservatorships, Civil Commitments, and Rights of Institutionalized Persons, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (1984)

"Massachusetts Complaint Procedure," 8 Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter 5 (Sept. - Oct. 1984)

“Protecting the Rights and Enhancing the Dignity of People With Disabilities,” 14 Rutgers Law J. 541 (June 1983) (co-author)

“The Massachusetts Constitutional Amendment: Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Handicap,” 16 Suffolk Law J. 47 (1982) (co-author)

A Legal Service Delivery System for Persons With Mental Handicaps (NIMH Report 1982) (co-author)

Establishing and Maintaining An Institutional Advocacy Program: Representing People With Handicaps (Legal Services Corporation 1981) (co-author)

Community Mental Health Law Bibliography, Irvington Press (1981)

“Representing Defendants in Civil Commitment Proceedings,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (1981)

"Preparation and Trial of a Civil Commitment Case," 5 Mental Disability Law Reporter 281 (July - August 1981)

"Legal Advocacy for Persons Confined in Mental Hospitals," 5 Mental Disability Law Reporter 274 (July - August 1981) (co-author)

Trial Manual for Civil Commitment (Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee, rev'd. ed. 1980) (co-author)

"The Mental Patients Advocacy Project," Advocacy Now (September 1980)

"Community Residential Regulations," 4 Mental Disability Law Reporter 125 (March - April 1980)

Models for Legal Advocacy Systems for Institutionalized Persons: Final Report of the Mental Patients Advocacy Project (NIMH 1979) (co-author)

"The Civil Commitment Hearing," 1 Mental Disability Law Reporter 379 (March - April 1977)

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