James J. Weisman, Esq.

Executive Vice President and General Counsel, United Spinal Association

photo_james-weisman_01Mr. Weisman is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of United Spinal Association. Since graduating from Seton Hall University Law School he has represented disabled people and organizations of disabled people in order to enhance the quality of their lives and to protect and promote their civil rights.

For over 35 years, he has been General Counsel for the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, now called United Spinal Association, where he provides legal assistance in all of their endeavors.

In July 1995, he became a founding member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities and in 2003 was elected Chairman of the Board. He was a key negotiator with members of Congress in drafting and supporting the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In 2004, he was presented with the Universal Accessible Transportation Award by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

In 2002, his suit against New York City was settled for 218 million dollars to be spent on installation of curb ramps for wheelchair users.

In March, 1996, President Clinton appointed him to the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). In 1994, he was presented with the Governor’s Advocacy Award by Mario Cuomo for his Americans with Disabilities Act efforts.

In 1991, he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee to promulgate a regulation implementing the ADA. He was also appointed by Governor Cuomo to a task force to insure New York State’s compliance with the ADA.

He commenced a lawsuit in 1979 against New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which was successfully settled in January 1985. This settlement agreement resulted in an accessible bus network; the rendering of key subway stations accessible by installation of elevators and the creation of a paratransit van service supplement. In 1989, he settled a lawsuit in Philadelphia which paralleled the New York agreement. The transportation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act are based on the Settlement Agreements in New York and Philadelphia.

In 2011, along with a Coalition of Disability Organizations United Spinal convinced Governor Andrew Cuomo to add 2,000 new taxis to New York City’s yellow cab fleet, all of which had to be wheelchair accessible. In 2014, an agreement was reached with Mayor Bloomberg to make half the yellow fleet accessible by 2020.

He is routinely consulted by disabled people, advocates, attorneys, employers, and transit operators who wish to employ or provide services to people with disabilities.

From 1977 to 1979, he was a staff attorney with Community Action for Legal Services, Inc., where he instituted the first legal services project in the nation designed to meet the needs of disabled poor persons.

Mr. Weisman currently resides in Oyster Bay, New York.