Professor Sarah Lorr co-directs the Disability and Civil Rights Clinic. Her work and scholarship focuses on the rights of adults with disability to have and raise families, alternatives to guardianship, and the right of adults with disabilities to be free from unwarranted intrusion in private spheres of decision making. She also studies the overapplication of guardianships to adults with disabilities, especially intellectual disabilities, and has fought against the imposition and continuation of guardianships in legal proceedings. Her scholarly work examines how substantive legal doctrine and ostensibly neutral standards subordinate disadvantaged parents accused of abuse and neglect in the family regulation system, especially those who are poor, nonwhite, and with disabilities. Alongside this critical examination of the family regulation system, she studies the extent to which individuals with disabilities are excluded from modern conceptions of the family, and denied access to antidiscrimination law when it comes to protecting their families, and seeks to understand how this impacts cultural notions of family and community.
Prior to joining the faculty at Brooklyn Law School, Professor Lorr was a Supervising Attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services Family Defense Practice, providing free legal representation to parents at risk of losing their children to foster care. In that capacity, she also represented parents in a wide range of matters related to family law, including termination of parental rights, custody, and family offense proceedings. She focused on keeping families together and protecting her clients’ fundamental right to parent. Professor Lorr served as a law clerk to the Honorable Joan N. Ericksen in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota and the Honorable Boyce F. Martin in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Professor Lorr’s scholarship has appeared in multiple law reviews, including the California Law Review, the Columbia Journal of Race & the Law. She regularly trains judges, lawyers, parents, and other stakeholders on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the family regulation system, best practices for working with adults with disabilities, and alternatives to guardianship. She is a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Family Justice Law Center and the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Mental Health Law, and the Secretary of the AALS Section on Disability Law.