Burton Blatt Institute names inaugural Olinsky Law Group Fellow

April 30, 2012

Stephanie Woodward, a second-year student at Syracuse University College of Law and a research assistant with the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at SU, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Olinsky Law Group/Burton Blatt Institute Fellowship. The fellowship was established through a generous gift from disability law attorney Howard D. Olinsky L’85, a member of BBI’s board of advisors and its executive committee.

Stephanie Woodward“The fellowship will provide invaluable practical experience each academic year for a law student interested in the field of civil rights law. Stephanie was chosen for her passionate commitment to disability rights and advocacy,” says Olinsky, principal of the Olinsky Law Group.

Woodward, who was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, is pursuing a joint degree in law and education. She is president of the Disability Law Society at SU College of Law. As a student representative for the Accessibility and Universal Design Committee for the new College of Law building, Woodward is working to ensure the facility is accessible for all people.

“Stephanie is dedicated to disability issues on campus and in local communities. This fellowship advances BBI’s commitment to training the next generation of disability leaders by offering Stephanie and future recipients an opportunity to hone their skills through research and work on legal matters,” says University Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of BBI, who also is a professor at the College of Law.

The fellowship will allow Woodward to learn about disability law cases with the Olinsky Law Group and continue as a BBI research assistant. “I’ll be able to build on my experience at BBI. The Olinsky Law Group works on cases related to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, and on the Americans with Disabilities Act. These are complicated issues that I gained knowledge of through my research at BBI. I will now apply what I learned to real cases,” says Woodward.

“The hands-on experience,” she adds, “will go a long way to help me achieve my career goals.” Woodward aspires to be a disability rights attorney concentrating on issues in accessibility of transportation, businesses, employment and housing. “I will use my legal skills to create communities where people with disabilities are fully integrated.”