Who is Twitchy Woman?
I’m an attorney with an interest in disability and civil rights law. I’ve always been visibly “weird” and, over the past two decades, I’ve collected a variety of different diagnoses, including with Tic Disorder, OCD, ADHD, and, most recently, Asperger’s. I’m still coming to terms with what all those labels mean to my life and how they relate to each other; in the meantime, I like the term “weird” as an appropriate catch-all description.
I have a cat. I like to knit. I go into swoons over music by the Smiths, the Mountain Goats, the Pet Shop Boys, and obscure Czech punk bands. I think I may actually be both Liz Lemon and Annie Hall.
What is “WeirdLaw”?
Weirdlaw mostly focuses on the following topics:
- being weird – when you’ve lived your life knowing you had some sort of disability but not knowing what to call it, getting a diagnosis that actually fits can be liberating and scary. It’s exciting to be become part of an identity community filled with people who are weird in the same ways you are, and I intend to talk about that. A lot.
- practicing law while weird – A lot has been written about how people on the autism spectrum can be successful programmers, scientists, artists, and academics, but you don’t often hear of them becoming attorneys. The legal profession is, as a cultural matter, often not very disability-friendly, and there are very few attorneys who are open about having neurological or psychiatric disabilities, especially autism spectrum disorders. I do luckily have very understanding and supportive co-workers – and a degree from Harvard – but I still sometimes feel like I’m the only lawyer in the world who has my particular quirks.
- the law as applied to “weird” people – that is, individuals whom the law has marked as somehow “different” and/or who don’t quite fit the legal system’s assumptions about what situations people are normally in and how people normally behave. My primary academic interest is analyzing and critiquing the way that the law either misunderstands or ignores different populations, and the often devastating effect this can have on people. At worst, people who are mentally or situationally outside the norm may be treated as falling outside the legal order altogether and thus targeted for special legal disabilities or even exclusion from society.
Can I tell you about this legal problem I’ve been having?
If you’re mainly interested in alerting me to a legal issue that I can then blog about, then by all means do. I love hearing about how the legal system plays out in individual cases and trying to think of ways that it could work better for people.
PLEASE do not ask me for advice, ask me to represent you, or ask me to help you find a lawyer. I am probably not licensed to practice in your state and I’m not qualified or even allowed to advise people on what the law is in other states. Even if I am licensed to practice in your state, I work for a nonprofit and can’t take on clients outside of work. And I really actually don’t know that many good lawyers who represent individuals. If you do ask me for help of some kind with your legal issue, I will feel sad because I won’t really be able to help.
Similarly, please remember that I do not check my blog posts for accuracy to the same degree that I check the legal work for which I’m actually paid. As a result, please don’t rely on anything I say about the law as if it were legal advice. Either consult with a lawyer or with materials specifically aimed at non-lawyers seeking to know more about the law.