This headshot shows a smiling James Weisman wearing a red polo-style shirt. He has short gray hair and a neatly-trimmed mustache and beard.

General Counsel, United Spinal Association


James Weisman

James Weisman is now General Counsel of United Spinal Association, after years of service as President/CEO. He joined United Spinal, then called Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, as an attorney in 1979. Years before the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Weisman sued New York City’s transit system and won bus access, key subway and rail station access and the creation of a paratransit program. His lawsuit against Philadelphia’s transit system yielded similar results by 1988. Weisman was a key negotiator for the passage of the ADA, which applied his New York and Philadelphia agreements to the whole country. His suit against New York for curb ramps has resulted in a $400 million expenditure and over $1 billion during the next ten years. United Spinal, led by Weisman, successfully got an agreement from New York to make 50% of its yellow cabs accessible by 2020. He is a 1977 graduate of Seton Hall University Law School and a founding board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities.


I have worked with and for people with spinal cord injuries and disorders for over four decades as General Counsel of United Spinal Association and its predecessor Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association. During that time, I’ve encountered dozens of people dealing with newly acquired paralysis or struggling to live in the community who are understandably overwhelmed. I have witnessed the vast majority of those who considered suicide go on to live meaningful, productive lives; to love and be loved. Patients’ despair coupled with underestimation, by some in the medical profession, of the quality of life achievable by people with paralysis will lead to unnecessary suicides. California legislators should pass laws to make it easier for people with severe disabilities to thrive – not easier to kill themselves. 


James Weisman

How do you pronounce your name?

Jim (Jim like gym) Weisman (Weis like vice and man like woman).

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