Greeting Redditors. I am Richard H. Bernstein, a civil rights lawyer who happens to be blind. I studied at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University School of Law. I am currently the head of the public services division at The Sam Bernstein Law Firm, PLLC ( in Farmington Hills, Michigan. I am also an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan where I teach a course on Social Justice.

I am an ironman and have run 18 marathons ( which I hope helps to change people's perceptions of the disabled. I am currently in federal litigation with the city of New York after getting hit by a bicycle in Central Park in August 2012 that resulted in a 10 week hospital stay at Mt. Sinai (

My goal is to make Central Park safer for others by requiring the City to follow minimal federal requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Unfortunately, the administration of NYC has shown a complete indifference to this request and refuses to engage in any discussions for a possible resolution.

The lawsuit seeks NO MONEY from the City. Additionally, I am paying for all the costs of the litigation out of my own pocket so as not to burden New York taxpayers.

New York's failure to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act is placing those who visit Central Park at risk. My hope is that Redditers can help us to make this situation better. Ask me anything!


Comments: 767 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

Lashley931080 karma

Are you Daredevil?

rbernstein898 karma

After spending everyday in court, I don't have the energy afterwards to be able to fight crime.

babawawa436 karma

Former student of yours here:

No real question for you — but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank and express my deep gratitude for you — you are an inspiration, and a hero. I honestly feel all important lessons I learned at the University of Michigan came from your lecture classes, and from another UM poli-sci professor with an emphasis on community organizing (I’m sure you know who I am referring too!)

I know you had contemplated a run for the Attorney General’s office in Michigan before — and, I just want to encourage you to run for high office in Michigan again. Our state needs more people like you!

rbernstein381 karma

That's one of the nicest things anyone has ever said, and it is always on the difficult days that comments like that are what allow for you to keep going.

saneiros311 karma

I've often thought while watching your commercials on TV that you should run for judge. You could use the slogan: Richard Bernstein for district court judge, because justice should be blind. What do you think?

rbernstein295 karma

I love it! How about just "blind justice?"

peace4gus254 karma

NYC resident here. How is NYC currently getting away with not having Central Park meet these minimum standards?

rbernstein285 karma

Unfortunately this is an issue that has yet to be enforced. What is even more remarkable about Central Park we are talking about new construction that wasn't even done remotely correct. When dealing with a curb ramp, there are very specific federal requirements for curb rants and cuts that are designed to ensure that wheel chair users with poor dexterity will not injure themselves. The slope gradients within Central Park for curb rants and cuts are double the incline which is allowed for by federal standards.

This causes tremendous danger because wheel chair users who believe that a curb rant is safe get catapulted into traffic when not done correctly.

The reason they are getting away with this is because they are very expensive and costly cases that are not being enforced.

BoWeiner83 karma

From what I have read, the bicycle roadie rides in Central park are already super dangerous and cause all kinds of problems, even for the non disabled.

rbernstein174 karma

The purpose of the lawsuit is to allow for pedestrians and bicyclists to share the park. Ultimately, the way that this is going to work, is that there simply has to be one or two access points where pedestrians can cross the loop the encompasses Central Park in a safe manner.

We simply need to have one or two access points, where the cyclists will come to a stop allowing for the pedestrians to navigate in and out of the park safely.

The reason for this is because in order to access the great lawn, the band shell, Shakespeare, you have to get across the 6.2 mile loop that encompasses the entire park.

The automobiles stop for the lights, the bicyclists don't. The reason people are getting injured is because when tourists are attempting to cross when the WALK sign is lit, they are not aware that the bicyclists are NOT going to stop for them.

We must come up with a system where as said before, there will be one or two access points for when pedestrians cross in and out of the park, the bicyclists will come to a complete stop allowing for safe passage.

There are simple solutions that can be put in place with minimal costs that can prevent catastrophic injury from continuing to occur.

BoWeiner87 karma

Yep. This is what I have heard. There are sp many ways to fix it too. Just put cops there to ticket riders not following the laws. I say this, and I'm a biker who doesn't tend to always follow the laws, albeit in not as dangerous a situation as what it seems like up there.

I know it wouldn't be the cheapest option, but a simple pedestrian overpass here and there might help. Although if the loop is 6.2 miles you'd have to really enforce the entrance/crossings bc you couldn't really put one ever 1/10th of a mile.

Either way, thank you for taking this issue to nyc and doing it in a very incredible and generous way.

rbernstein107 karma

Thank you so much for your incredible kindness and comment. This is why I was hoping that perhaps my team could meet with members of the Parks department.

If we could just meet with the Park's department I am confident we could come up great solution to this. The challenge so far is that under the Bloomberg Administration is that no one in the City was willing to haev a conversation on this matter.

In my years of practice, I have never come across a defendant like the Bloomberg Administration who wasn't even willing to have a single meeting, a single discussion and a single opportunity to find ways to make a situation that is currently dangerous a little bit better.

To be clear, I was never asking to meet with the Mayor or high up officials, I was simply requesting an opportunity to meet with ANYONE in the parks department that was willing to work on this matter in a positive, constructive, COST EFFECTIVE way.

What is remarkable about what has happened in the case so far, is that NYC under the Bloomberg Administration has spent more on legal fees than what it would've cost to find a positive resolution.

I was able to find private foundational support at no cost to the City who would help to provide staffing for Central Park to make the situation safer.

The Bloomberg Administration refused to even discuss such a proposal which would've been at no cost to the City whatsoever.

craisineater147 karma

How did your family's wealth play into what you do now and what you have done in the past? (Given that your father is a lawyer and owns a law firm, I'm assuming you grew up wealthy.)

rbernstein445 karma

This is an important question and I greatly appreciate you asking it.

85% of the blind community is currently unemployed, this is not because people are not hard working, talented and extremely dedicated. The reason that such an unemployment rate exists, is due to the fact that many disabled people have not been blessed with the resources I have been given.

If I had been born into a different family, there is no question that I would not be doing the work that I am currently able to do. The reason that I have dedicated my entire professional career to represent people with disabilities is because I know how lucky I have been.

I consider myself so incredibly blessed is because I have been given the opportunity to understand challenge, difficulty and hardship because of my blindness but at the same time, due to my financial situation, I am able to dedicate myself to hopefully improving the lives of those disabled people who haven't been given the resources I have.

The ability to know challenge while at the same time given the opportunity to do something about it. is why I am so dedicated, focused and so passionate about the rights of the disabled.

pjl1701125 karma

Man, you seem fucking awesome.

Swichts90 karma

The fact that he didn't dodge that question and gave such a well thought out answer is impressive.

Ihmhi17 karma

You'd think if anyone would dodge a question it'd be a lawyer.

rbernstein17 karma

I won't dodge a question which is why this is a ask me anything

3AlarmLampscooter140 karma

I guess you could say OP is... puts on sunglasses...

Legally blind

No question, but wanted to say keep up the good work with with ADA!

rbernstein58 karma

Thank you!

Raleigh8589 karma

Should every facility managed by a government entity be bound by laws inacted well after they were created? How do you finance the enormous cost of retrofitting these facilities? When does common sense become part of the equation?

rbernstein87 karma

That is an excellent question and thank you for asking it!

The key when you are dealing with the ADA is to do the construction correctly from the beginning. The issues that have occurred within Central Park, is that new construction was not done even close to what the Federal Government mandates.

What you find in this kind of work, is that if cities do the work correctly, the modifications that are done turn out to be much less expensive than one might think.

The reason that this is so important is that nobody should ever have to be alone simply because of the fact they have a disability. Imagine the feeling one would have if they were not able to receive an education, attend a movie, visit a restaurant, ride on a bus, fly on a plane solely because of the way God created them.

Making sure that large scale facilities can accommodate those with disabilities, is nothing short of a quality of life issue.

In my cases, I have done this work for over 10 years. I have challenged US aviation, I have fought to allow for people with disabilities to have access to aviatation, commercial facilities, stadiums, Universities, parks, etc. What happens everytime is that when the parties are able to come together, what is realized is that the types of changes needed are NOT drastic, and often benefit those who are not disabled i.e. senior citizens.

The expression goes, "that what is good for the disabled, is good for everyone."

Raleigh8538 karma

Thanks for the response. Central Park was constructed during a time when ADA wasn't law. What specific parts of Central Park aren't up to code? Are you specifically requesting improvements done within the park after ADA was enacted should be at a minimum level? The reason I ask is because this is a very large publicly owned and managed entity that would likely cost multi-millions or billions to completely upfit up to current standards. I'm also wondering who should bear the expense of these improvements? Should other NYC programs lose funding in order to have the park upfitted?

rbernstein68 karma

Again, these EXCELLENT questions and I am absolutely delighted to answer these.

Ok, so first...there is a distinction within the ADA that allows for what is called programatic activity, A programatic activity would include a concert, something where people come to attend it like a community event. As an example, I had to litigate against my own University (Univ. of Michigan) because the football stadium was inaccessible. This is a stadium that was constructed in 1927. The stadium is used for programatic activities, in addition to football is a community gathering place.

The reason that the ADA required that University of Michigan bring the facility into full ADA compliance was because the law will not allow for some students to attend an event and others to not be able to solely because of a disability.

In the instant case, the City of New York has made Central Park a gathering, communal and programatic facility. Everything from the Symphony Orchestra to Shakespeare to the UN World Citizens Day Concert is held within the confines of Central Park. The fact that this is again a programatic location for activities, it is illegal to not make necessary provisions to allow for all who wish to the opportunity to attend.

I recognize that Park was built in the 19th century, and of course was not built with the ADA in mind. However, in answering your question we recently completed a preliminary report composed by our expert that found new construction i.e. curb cuts, curb ramps, ramps, stairways, restrooms which had all been marked as being ADA compliant where in NO WAY CLOSE to being compliant.

Our preliminary report submitted to the court, has photographs in which there exist tags that highlight the words "New Lumber." This new construction didn't even follow the most basic of requirements. An example of this was a recently constructed stairway in which there was no base at the top. This is incredibly dangerous because a blind person who is coming down towards the stairway will not know such a stairway exists until upon it. There is simply NO excuse for brand new construction to not even have the most basic of standards and guidelines adhere to...this is brand new construction where they didn't even follow the most rudementary of guidelines. Again, this is incredibly dangerous because the City is marking ramps, curb cuts, curb ramps as being ADA compliant.

When you have disable people who are led to believe something is ADA compliant there exists an understanding that it meets the guidelines which are designed specifically for safety. The City of New York is so far off the guidelines that slopes within Central Park exceed DOUBLE of what is allowed. This is tremendous shock to a wheelchair user who will not maintain control and will ultimately be catapulted into traffic which our expert found the curb ramps by Central Park West were double of what was allowed for.

The fact that you would build something, mark it compliant, place it where there is heavy traffic, defies belief.

rbernstein43 karma

What will happen is that as the case proceeds and discovery continues, our expert will have an opportunity to do a more substantiative survey within the park.

The key issue as to why we are litigating is safety. These guidelines were established for that sole purpose. Again all we are asking for is that the City follow the guidelines.

In regards to cost, my team is dedicated to finding the most cost effective solutions to this situation. Had the Bloomberg Administration or anyone been willing to meet with us a year ago prior to litigation, this would've been much easier for everyone. There is simply NO reason why no one from the Administration would be willing to have a conversation.

We can develop a strategy, timetable, a budget that would work well for everyone. In every case that i have handled whether it be the University of Michigan stadium, Detroit Metro Aiport Authority/Delta/Delta Airlines, the Detroit Department of Transportation, the Oakland County Road Commission, we have by working together we have always found creative opportunities to make things better.

Since there is no money being asked for or legal fees to be paid, the only focus that we have is to make the situation a little bit better than how we found it.

The cost of doing so coupled with the time and effort necessary, is something that is always given great weight.

rbernstein81 karma

I have loved this experience today! It has been the best way to start the New Year. I have loved the questions, loved the conversation and community on here.

I am so grateful to everyone for spending their time with me and Natalie today. I am incredibly appreciative that people took the time to spend it with us and make it a great experience.

I hope that we will have the opportunity to do this again. If anyone ever has questions about disabilities, I love talking with people about these kinds of issues as it is my life's mission and work. I would be delighted if people would like to reach out and contact me.

I am old fashion and love to talk with people by phone. Feel free to call me at my office whenever you like. I am always available to speak with anyone that wishes to continue this conversation further. My office number is 248-737-8400.

I make every effort to get back with people as quickly as possible however when I am in court there can sometimes be a delay.

I pray that this will be a great year for all of us!

FrodoTheLongDick73 karma

What in your mind, is your greatest accomplishment to date?

rbernstein120 karma

I think for me it was the ability to become an attorney was the thing I am most proud of because that was the greatest struggle.

FrodoTheLongDick31 karma

You truly are an inspiration to me

rbernstein34 karma

Thank you so much!

yingsin61 karma

Hi Richard, I was wondering what your opinion was about any of the parody videos that are out there about you and your family's commercials? Do you take them harshly or do you laugh along with them? Thanks!

rbernstein106 karma

I love people, and I come from the perspective that people are always good. And sometimes I think it is important that as you go through life, connecting with people is the most important thing. It is no fun to be around people who take themselves too seriously.

As I have learned as a blind person who sustained a traumatic accident, you have to enjoy each and every day and the people you have a chance to meet, befriend and spend time with.

People doing parodies and having fun is something that should be encouraged.

zorency57 karma

I am curious as to how you read these replies?

rbernstein87 karma

Thanks for your question, this is Natalie answering for Richard who assists him with fun opportunities to connect with others and answer questions on the computer like these. I am sitting right next to Richard. Thanks for participating! :)

MicroJT46 karma

Do you know Maggie Lizer?

rbernstein24 karma

As a blind person you tend to identify people off of voice and contexts.

MicroJT30 karma

She was a character on Arrested Development played by Julia Louis Dreyfus. The character pretended to be a blind lawyer. I was hoping you were a fan of the show.

rbernstein26 karma

I love the show! I only saw one episode and went off air before I could really get into it.

redyellowand35 karma

Hi Richard, I don't really have a question, but I just wanted to say that your family's commercials are, to me, part of my Michigan identity--so thanks for what you and the rest of the Bernsteins do!

rbernstein23 karma

That is so kind of you to say! It is statements like that which always allow for us to keep going.

-Damien-34 karma

Is there law books for blind people or how are you able to read law?

rbernstein70 karma

Only 10% of the blind community currently rely on brail in a professional capacity The reason for this is that technolgy is that they have created remarkable opportunities in which blind people are limited by nothing.

Ultimately to put law books in brail would be incredibly cumbersome for one page would equate to nearly 20 pages in brail. This would require the use of a forklift to bring all of your textbooks in brail into school.

The way I went through law school was to rely on readers and I would memorize the material.

rbernstein96 karma

Also, exams were exceedingly difficult during law school because most students could use highlighters or take notes which i wasn't able to do. Imagine taking a contract exam which would contain a ten page fact pattern, it is the law students responsibility to identify all issues found within that fact pattern. I would have a reader read the fact pattern between 15-20 times in which I would memorize it word-for-word. In property, the placement of a comma can change the outcome of an entire questions.

After having memorized the entire fact pattern i would then dictate my answer to a scribe.

Imagine you will the bar exam and to take that in which on the multi state you will have an entire page which is your fact pattern followed by statement one, statement two, statement three, four and five followed by multiple choice A. statement one, two and three apply B. statement two and four apply C. statements one and five apply D. five applies E. five four and two apply.

A blind bar applicant is required to memorize the entire fact pattern, all five statements and then A, B, C, D and E to answer correctly.

IAMA_Mouse_Duh31 karma

Hi Richard! I am going to school to be a teacher for children with visual impairments. I love hearing about people with visual impairments who lead such full and active lives, it serves as a wonderful motivator for my (future) students! I have been able to spend time at a sports camp for children who are blind and visually impaired and it was a amazing opportunity. We taught the kids about successful blind athletes and It was so enlighting for them and myself too! My question is do you engage in any sort of mentorship programs for students with visual impairments? What advice would you give to me going into teaching this population of students? Also If you don't mind me asking, what is your visual impairment?

rbernstein68 karma

I would be delighted to come to spend to spend time at either your camp or your school. Please feel free to contact my office so we can have an opportunity to speak more in depth about the work you and I can do together.

I can't begin to thank you enough for your willingness to help people with disabilities. Your kindness and willingness to devote yourself to such a cause has an impact that you can not possibly begin to imagine.

Whatever I can do to be of assistance would be my great pleasure. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

thelordofcheese29 karma

What's your favorite color?

rbernstein117 karma

This leads to a very interesting conversation. Blind people are unable to distinguish what colors are. If you have never seen a color, you have no appreciation of it. For example, how you define what blue is unless you have had an opportunity to have seen it at one time. I always like to share the story of Beethoven who as everyone knows was an incredible composer as well as being deaf. The critical thing about Beethoven is that he could hear when he was a child. Had he never heard, he would not have been able to appreciate or understand what music was. The same concept it applicable for blind people. There are simply certain things that having never seen them before, renders it impossible to have an understanding of how they look. In the movies, they always have a blind person touching someone's face. Even after touching someone's face the only knowledge you gain is how it feels. You still will have no understanding or appreciation for what a human face looks like having never seen one. For all intents purposes, blind people live in a different world from the sighted. It is a world without distraction. Most distractions of the material nature come from vision. Blind people are able to experience people and the world at a hightened level.

JohnWad25 karma

I'm really getting tired of seeing your families commercials splattered all over TV.

rbernstein255 karma

The blessing I have as being blind is that I don't have to see or watch them.

nooron24 karma

Thanks for getting the crosswalks installed in Farmington Hills! I sit by you every year during Rosh Hashanah.

rbernstein19 karma

Oh really, wow that's so great! I hope people are using and I hope to show that when you make something accessible for the disabled you make it better for everyone.

iheartscotch23 karma

Who's got better brand visibility; You, Feiger, or Joumana Kayrouz?

It's Kayrouz, right?

EDIT: Thanks for the gold, kind stranger!

rbernstein22 karma

These are all great firms and ultimately different firms do different things. Our firm prides itself on our public services division because we truly focus on trying to do the most good that we possibly can for as many people as we can.

Our public services division loses a tremendous amount of money on a yearly basis, but it helps to remind us of why we became lawyers and what type of firm we are.

bensturner20 karma

What was Mayor Bloomberg specific reaction to the lawsuit filed against the city and your accident in Central Park? Do you think the new Mayor DiBlasio could potentially help and hear your case and what would you ask the new mayor if you had a chance to meet with him in person?

rbernstein26 karma

Since this case asks for no money of its sort, the willingness of the new Mayor to meet with myself and my expert to develop a cost effective strategy to make subsidive changes could make a huge difference.

I think this poses an opportunity to Mayor DiBlasio who has focused his campaign on being inclusive. If the Mayor is true to his word and inclusivity is going to be a critical component of his administration he simply must include everyone. Diversity must apply to all people including the disabled.

Having the busiest park in the world be inaccessible to those with disabilities is something that MUST be changed. I hope that the new Mayor will recognize that inclusion must involve those who have disabilities and their access to a better quality of life. A simple place to start would be for his administration to begin working with us to make changes within Central Park that would allow for all to use it.

MehdyG17 karma

What are some of the recommendations that you have for the city to make the park safer?

rbernstein13 karma

Our expert recently conducted a survey of Central Park and found that if the City was willing to work with us there are incredibly cost effective measures that we can take that can make the situation better. Unfortunately the City's refusal to even have a meeting prevents us from being able to do it.

bevojames15 karma

I'm a JD, running my first marathon later this month, half ironman in April, and can see. I tip my hat to you.

Do you need any help with your current litigation? I'd be happy to help.

rbernstein15 karma

When you are working for free and having to pay for your own costs so anyone willing to help is greatly appreciated! If you can please contact my office and I would love to talk with you more.

JDub813 karma

What damage put you up for 10 weeks?

Weird lawyer-y Q: Don't you have to sue for at least a penny or something so there is consideration?

rbernstein22 karma

Excellent question and ultimately in the situations I am involved in I am asking for injunctive relief. This is a term that simply means you are asking the court to do something. When you are asking the court to do something and take an action there does not need to be any money involved.

It is important to know that cases that involve injunctive relief, are decided solely by the judge. This is because it is a determination of law. So to answer your question, you do not have to make a request for financial.

Your question goes to the issue of contracts. For a person to enter in a contractual relationship, you must an offer, clear acceptance, and what is deemed consideration. It is the consideration (or the "dollar") that makes a binding contract. Without consideration a contract does not exist, you would simply have a promise.

Lord_Waldimor11 karma


rbernstein16 karma

That's interesting. If you can call my office to talk with me more you could be a potential witness.

RabbiSholom9 karma

Hi Richard, You are my hero and inspire me every time I speak to you,I wounder who is your hero and who gives you inspiration?

rbernstein11 karma

Ultimately, I was blessed to be born into the family I am in. It is my parents coupled with my siblings who taught me on a daily basis that anything and everything is possible. In addition, my family set forth expectations that had to be met. The idea being that it is my responsibility to work hard no matter what.

Going to court, teaching, these were all expectations and doing them is my responsibility. In addition, one of my closest friends who is gentleman by the name of Tony Filippis who lost his legs when he was 19. His dream was to be a championship fighter but he realized after his accident that he had an incredible engineering mind and was able to make a contribution in that manner.

Tony helped create modern day prosthetic devices that has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Tony represents the idea that our life can go in a direction that we might not anticipate, but if we recognize that if we are part of something bigger you come to realize the incredible contributions that people who sustain great tragedy are able to experience throughout their lives.

gucci_lemonade9 karma

how are you reading these questions?

rbernstein16 karma

Hi, this is Natalie who works with Richard and is sitting next to him reading all of the questions to him and writing his responses on here. Thanks for asking!

Twelvey9 karma

Being from Michigan I grew up watching your dad's commercials and it was really neat to see that you and your siblings went into the family business. I am a recent law school grad and am now practicing in Indiana. Any good advice or funny stories to tell a newbie just starting out?

rbernstein16 karma

Enjoy the practice of law and realize you are doing something that has the potential to make a huge difference in people's lives. Feel free to call me at the office because I always love speaking to young attorneys.

weissmike9 karma

Will I go to hell for posting The Goldstein Advantage commercial?

Based on the very familiar Bernstein commercials

rbernstein14 karma

I don't think you really have to worry about it.

summitrock9 karma


rbernstein6 karma

Thank you for that, it is very helpful!

I was struck just north of 90th on the Upper East Side.

Butstuf8 karma

Hi Richard! Just wanted to say good luck and thanks. I'm from Michigan and recently had a character in a short movie I produced who was a blind attorney at law, and I thought of the old Bernstein commercials while making it. Eat em up!

rbernstein11 karma

Thank you! Movies that have disable characters have a huge impact because it changes the perceptions people have.

the_brains8 karma

Hi Richard thanks for your AMA. If you don't mind me asking, were you born blind?

rbernstein23 karma

Yes. The blessing that comes with it is that you learn to experience life in a totally different way from that of the sighted. You live life with a tremendous appreciation of people and you find that vision can ultimately serve as a great distraction that was really matters.

the_brains6 karma

Thank you for your reply. I wish you all the best with your case, and thanks again for this AMA.

rbernstein5 karma

Thank you and you're welcome!

bensturner7 karma

Richard, love to hear more about completing an ironman and what it was like to swim 2.4 miles bike 112 miles and then run 26.2 miles. Do you feel being blind helped you prepare for it mentally and what was the toughest part of being an ironman finisher?

rbernstein15 karma

The iron make for me was an incredibly spiritual situation. Imagine what it is like to have no idea where you are or where are going while swimming in a huge body of water. You repeatedly get kicked in hte face and the rope that connects you to your guide gets tangled with other swimmers which often results in a drowning sensation. After your swim, you ride a tandem bike through the mountains and then begin your 26.2 marathon.

The incredible thing that happens when this takes place is that you come to realize that God will always give you what you need when you need it. No more, no less.

stevestgermain3 karma

How the hell do you do all that blind? Like seriously... you are the most accomplished of all the Bernstiens, which is saying a lot. Did your grandfather practice law as well?

rbernstein9 karma

Yes, my grandfather practiced law as well.

The key for the rest is that I am blessed to having incredible guides who train with you and who you develop complete confidence in. The incredible thing that people should always know is that it is the guides who do all the hard work.

Imagine what it would be like to run a marathon AND give oral commands while you are running. Imagine what it is like for a guide not only do an ironman, but to direct someone else throughout the entire process.

It is the guides who make this all possible. The guides do it for no credit and are most often anonymous, their sole reason is to allow for someone like myself to have an incredible experience.

numbers12067 karma

Richard, I'm a young Michigan voter. I'm interested to hear your insights on the 2014 supreme court races. Any thoughts?

rbernstein26 karma

The election for Michigan Supreme Court is going to play a critical role in our state's future.

bigbrainonb-rad6 karma

Have you seen the fake Bernstein commercial made by the Pure Michigan parody guy? Thoughts? Can the Bernstein family laugh at itself?

rbernstein12 karma

You know I haven't had an opportunity to see that one yet but I hope it is funny as the other parodies that they do on Pure Michigan.

ADrunkenPanda6 karma

What's your favourite version of the suit, I liked the classic mark 2..

rbernstein13 karma

I get all my suits at the Mens Warehouse

aleksthepster6 karma

Do you realize that although your lawsuit isn't asking for money, the enactment of meeting the federal requirements will still cost money from the city?

rbernstein10 karma

That is a fair comment. It is important to know that the cost would've been far less had the City done the construction correctly in the first place.

in addition, as the case moves through discovery we will be obtaining the accident records from within the Park. These records are going to show the large number of people who have had life changing injuries due to the City's inability to adhere to the most basic of guidelines.

The key to this litigation is that all it is doing it requiring that the City of New York simply follow the law.

It can be difficult to require private entities to adhere to Federal standards if government chooses not to do so.

Srugie5 karma


rbernstein5 karma

I love being at Binghamton, it was a beautiful campus and some of the most remarkable students I have had a chance to visit with.

I hope I am given the opportunity to go back and visit again because it was a truly wonderful experience.

jonnyrotten75 karma

What do you know about bird law?

rbernstein3 karma

I apologize because I don't know a single thing about it.

BroozeCampbell4 karma

Is there someone you can sue to make Detroit safer?

rbernstein6 karma

We just have to have hope that tomorrow is going to be a better day.

rbernstein3 karma

I am back and I will continue answering questions until we have answered all of them so please keep them coming!

maestro763 karma

Can you slow down with all "800-call sam" commercials? Seriously, every channel, every 5 min. Enough is enough.

rbernstein9 karma

I am worried that if we don't do that you might forget the number.

rarlcove3 karma

How do you practice law if you're blind? Are you completely blind? Can you read? Were you always blind, or just after you finished law school and became established? I've heard of other blind lawyers, like that one in China who was arrested and then went to NYU, and it always makes me wonder.

rbernstein5 karma

The big challenge to being a blind attorney is court room activity. Because my cases deal with interpretation of federal law, I am required to memorize between 20-3o cases that are on point to the argument I am attempting to make.

in addition, I have to also be familiar with all the cases that defense counsel is raising before the court so that I can argue them properly. The great thing about the federal system is that all cases that are going to be argued are contained within the perimeters of the briefs which are submitted. Every time I am appearing in Federal Court I must familiar with cases for and against my argument. This way, I can argue properly.

coheedsmonstar3 karma

I almost ran into you coming out of a store in Somerset a few weeks back. That could have been embarrassing.

rbernstein5 karma

As a blind person I love when we say run into to people because I do physically run into people.

dangerstein3 karma

You going to run for AG again?

rbernstein4 karma

Thank you so much for asking but no.

femisogynist2 karma

No questions, best of luck to you :)

rbernstein2 karma

Thank you!

KKKoolJew222 karma

You came and spoke at my school last year and I just wanted to say how cool it was and how much of an inspiration you are.

rbernstein2 karma

Wow thank you! If you like I would love to come back.

salbacoste2 karma

is sam bernstein a real man or just a symbol?

rbernstein4 karma

That is my dad who has been practicing law since 1968.

burstBBQ2 karma

why did you choose this path of career?

rbernstein6 karma

As a disabled person the law provides an incredible opportunity to transform people's lives. No matter who you are or where you are from, the law is in an incredible equalizer. For the most part, the law is the single greatest catalyst for true change.

NotAContest3 karma

Did you ever consider a different career?

rbernstein3 karma

I have always loved the career that I have and I feel that my career coupled with my disability and passion, the practice of law provides me tremendous fulfillment.

I truly enjoy having the ability to fight for what I believe in. I love the opportunity to represent folks who otherwise don't get representation.

Motha_Effin_Kitty_Yo1 karma

To what extent are you blind? I know some people are legally blind but still have some vision. Do you have any sight at all?

rbernstein3 karma

I don't have usable vision.

AssholeCanadian-2 karma

You ask for no money, but forcing the city to comply with regulations that affect a very small portion of the population is unfair. Taxes will increase. Why should the majority of users have to pay more so that a very small minority of people can use the park?

rbernstein4 karma

Thank you so much for the question. This is an excellent question to ask because it is an issue that is faced in everyone of the cases that I litigate.

It is often argued why do we have to spend so much to help what is perceived to be such a small number of people. First off, it is estimated that one of seven people in the U.S. has a disability. In addition, as I always argue, what is good for people with disabilities is good for everyone.

The Univ. of Michigan made the same argument when being asked why they should have to renovate the stadium. The University argued it is a tremendous amount of work, a great expense and if they have to retrofit the stadium to create seating for the disabled those chairs will simply go unused.

After the University was forced to make the necessary changes, create the seating by making the facility accessible, their numbers went up dramatically. The changes that were made for the disabled benefited the senior community greatly. Senior Citizens found it much easier to attend commencement, games and other activities.

It is also important to note that the disabled seating at the Univ. of Michigan stadium was virtually sold out at every game.

The issue that develops is that until a facility develops and made accessible, people with disabilities have a hard time using it. Once a facility is brought up to code, the number of users increases dramatically.

The adage that is put forth in the disability rights field, is that, "if you build it they will come."

After the Detroit Department of Transportation was brought up to code, it was estimated that their ridership increased by nearly 10%.

Additionally, what is found is that most companies who choose to make their facilities accessible for everyone find that it just simply makes good business. I often like to emphasize the notion that if done correctly such changes are not as difficult and expensive as they might imagine.

From a moral perspective, my clients tend to be veterans who have served their nation and should have the right to have access to it upon their return.

35h46hjj6-2 karma

How do you stay thin? It seems like every blind woman I've ever seen has been a total hamplanet.

rbernstein2 karma

Physical fitness is my life and what allows me to do everything else.