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Celebrating Disability Awareness Month: Sean Pevsner

Image of Sean Pevsner A proud Longhorn (B.A., Greek and Latin, ‘98/J.D., Law ’04), Sean Pevsner is a partner in his own firm, Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC, where he has developed a vibrant special education practice. A passionate advocate for equal rights, Pevsner knew from a very young age that he wanted to help people with disabilities access education, community services and public accommodations. Now he is fulfilling his alma mater’s mission: “What Starts Here Changes the World.”

Ahead of the class…Born with severe cerebral palsy, Pevsner is a quadriplegic who moves his head to operate his motorized wheelchair. Despite his challenges early into his academic career, he proved doctors and teachers wrong by surpassing his peers in mainstream classes and gradating in the top 20 percent of his high school class. By the time he entered law school, he had a specific goal in mind. “I want to show society what a person with a disability can bring to the legal arena.”

Navigating college life…In college, one of Pevsner’s biggest challenges was traversing the massive campus in a non-motorized wheelchair. With help from Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), he was able to get a helping hand from assistants as well as classroom accommodations. “SSD proctored all of my undergraduate exams and issued accommodation letters both for undergraduate and law school.”

Making a lasting impact…Among Pevsner’s many accomplishments at UT Austin, he founded Groups United Against Rights Discrimination, a student organization that worked to make the campus more accessible to people with disabilities. His favorite UT Austin memory was spearheading the Disability Awareness Rights Rally during the DDCE’s annual Heman Sweatt Symposium. “When I first got to UT, I had to educate people. I found a lot of them didn’t know how to deal with a person with a severe disability.”

 A word of advice… “You should never assume that people know how to accommodate you, even people who are supposed to know how to accommodate people with disabilities. I learned that you must be vigilant in self-advocating in all circumstances.”

Proud to be a Longhorn…Now residing in Arlington, Texas, Pevsner is happy with the path he has chosen. He attributes much of his success to his friends, professors and fellow advocates who helped him achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. “I love UT and am grateful for what the university did for me while I was a student.”