Dr. Nicholas Lawson

MD, JD, Georgetown Scholar

Nicholas D. Lawson, M.D., J.D., is a disability advocate and a person with a disability having lived experience of disability discrimination as a psychiatry resident. He is also a Georgetown Law Scholar and an aspiring disability studies professor who writes about disability rights issues within the academic medical and legal literatures. Dr. Lawson draws from an interdisciplinary background in medicine, law, research, and clinical care to critically appraise expert authorities on persons with disabilities and to fight medical models that contribute to disability oppression. Lawson is particularly interested in reducing structural stigma, in the inclusion of persons with disabilities in positions of leadership and within the professions, and in negative rights and privacy issues.

Lawson’s contributions to law reviews include “To Be a Good Lawyer, One Has to Be a Healthy Lawyer”: Lawyer Well-Being, Discrimination, and Discretionary Systems of Discipline in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. The Article critiqued professional wellness (aka well-being) policies encouraging surveillance and reporting of persons suspected of having mental health conditions and disabilities. Dr. Lawson’s more recent Article, Suicide Screening and Surveillance of Students, Discrimination, and Privacy: The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, is forthcoming in the Journal of Law and Education. It argues that suicide surveillance policies in high schools, colleges, and universities are counterproductive and lead to discrimination on the basis of suicidality. Lawson argues that institutions can “support” persons with disabilities, including mental health conditions, by complying with disability affirmative action requirements under the Rehabilitation Act, including persons with disabilities in leadership positions, and by investing in disability studies programs and courses within their academic curriculums.


A person listed as a contributor has spoken or otherwise participated in Federalist Society events, publications, or multimedia presentations. A person's appearance on this list does not imply any other endorsement or relationship between the person and the Federalist Society. In most cases, the biographical information on a person's "contributor" page is provided directly by the person, and the Federalist Society does not edit or otherwise endorse that information. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues. All expressions of opinion by a contributor are those of the contributor.