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Murray B. Schneps was born to Jewish parents who had immigrated to

New York in search of the American dream and was raised in the insular neighborhood of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. His street smarts and inquisitive mind led him to a legal career.


When his first child, Lara, was born profoundly mentally retarded and multiply handicapped, he was forced to confront the way our society viewed and treated the “children of a lesser God” and he vowed to use every tool in his arsenal to wage war against the status quo.


Along the way, he engaged in civil litigation, including class actions, to vindicate the rights of those with mental and physical disabilities. It was not possible

to ensure that Lara would always be safe and cared for without changing the existing public and private bias in favor of large institutions. As an activist and gladiator, he challenged government officials, communities, and other parents to explore different and better ways to care for those with disabilities.


He was a named plaintiff in the action addressing the horrors existing at the infamous Willowbrook State School, was a Vice Chairman of the Willowbook Review Panel, which was charged with implementing the agreed-to changes,

and became an unapologetic ideologue dedicated to the development of small community residences.

State and Families Reach Final Accord Over Willowbrook

The New York Times


Accord Reached In Care Dispute at Willowbrook

The New York Times

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