R&D notes

Accessibility lawyers: Do they practice what they practice?

Jonathan Robert Pool

Testing websites of the ADA bar


In 2015 the National Association of the Deaf sued Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claiming they illegally omitted captions from course materials made available on the Web. In 2016 a blind customer sued Dominos Pizza, claiming its defective website prevented him from ordering a customized pizza.

Does the law require websites and other digital documents and applications to be disability-friendly? Lawyers argue over that question as they practice accessibility law. In the United States, the volume of digital-accessibility cases filed in federal courts, invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other statutes and regulations, has reached 4,000 per year. Many other claims are settled without reaching court.

Some attorneys practice accessibility law. They represent clients with disabilities (most commonly blindness) making claims, or clients defending themselves against such claims, or both—or they facilitate negotiations between the parties. Almost universally, even the attorneys who defend clients against accessibility claims advise their clients to make and keep their digital interfaces accessible and thereby minimize their exposure to successful claims.

So, what about their own websites? Do attorneys and law firms that practice accessibility law also practice accessibility?


In January 2022 I performed an automated accessibility testing procedure (asp08 in Autotest) on web pages of 34 digital-accessibility law firms. For each firm, I tested the home page, and, if it exists, another page specifically describing the firm’s services in accessibility law. In some cases I relied on Accessibility.com’s tabulations of cases filed to identify a law firm even if its website does not state that it practices digital-accessibility law.

The procedure generated a score for each page. The lower the score, the better. A score of 0 would indicate that a page passed all the tests.

In the table below:

Accessibility scores of web pages
PageScore (lower is better)
Gottlieb & Associates home172
Gottlieb & Associates accessibility177
Law Office of Jonathan P. Rubin home239
United Legal Team home270
United Legal Team accessibility292
Hunt Huey home365
Mizrahi Kroub accessibility372
Eric Siegel Law accessibility403
Beverly Hills Trial Attorneys home450
Beverly Hills Trial Attorneys accessibility454
Blank Rome home471
Lambrou Law Firm accessibility472
Kronenberger Rosenfeld accessibility487
Laney Feingold home507
Mizrahi Kroub home508
Pacific Trial Attorneys home510
Blank Rome accessibility552
Beckage accessibility618
Brown, Goldstein & Levy home658
Ku & Mussman home661
Brown, Goldstein & Levy accessibility667
Laney Feingold accessibility684
Kronenberger Rosenfeld home701
Ku & Mussman accessibility703
Schapiro Law Group home810
Morgan Lewis accessibility813
Spire Law accessibility817
Schapiro Law Group accessibility836
Lynch Carpenter accessibility862
Leech Tishman home870
Leech Tishman accessibility899
Seyfarth Shaw home899
Beckage home935
Karlin Law Firm accessibility964
Morgan Lewis home966
Lynch Carpenter home992
Quarles & Brady accessibility993
Barclay Damon accessibility1031
Samuel and Stein accessibility1049
Samuel and Stein home1134
Eric Siegel Law home1143
Quarles & Brady home1179
Steptoe & Johnson home1186
Spire Law home1198
Karlin Law Firm home1233
Manning Law accessibility1300
Seyfarth Shaw accessibility1335
Manning Law home1531
Lambrou Law Firm home1567
Klein Moynihan Turco accessibility1594
Klein Moynihan Turco home1615
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr home1760
Hunt Huey accessibility1831
Hunton Andrews Kurth accessibility1855
Potter Handy home2008
Hunton Andrews Kurth home2068
FordHarrison accessibility2072
Wilson Elser home2158
FordHarrison home2257
Wilson Elser accessibility2358
Steptoe & Johnson accessibility2371
Potter Handy accessibility2418
Moses & Singer accessibility2466
Moses & Singer home2841
Barclay Damon home2887
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr acessibility3760

Here are a few examples of the thousands of accessibility problems that these tests discovered:


The table above shows a wide range of scores, and accessiblity problems were found on all 66 pages. If the testing procedure fairly estimates over-all accessibility, law firms that practice accessibility law fall short—in some cases egregiously—in practicing accessibility.

True, there is no such thing as a perfect test, and fully automated tests sometimes miss, understate, or exaggerate problems. To mitigate this weakness, the asp08 procedure conducts 525 tests. They include some tests designed for this procedure, but most of the tests are imported from widely used products made available by Deque (axe-core), WebAIM (WAVE), IBM (Equal Access), and Squiz Labs (HTML CodeSniffer). The detailed reports can guide website developers in making sites more accessible.

Attorneys involved in digital-accessibility litigation tell clients or adversaries to make websites accessible. However, to varying degrees, there is evidence that these attorneys are not doing so themselves. Until they do, their entreaties will amount to Do as we say, not as we do. Moreover, they, too, will be vulnerable to website-accessibility claims.