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Elizabeth Pendo, J.D.

Joseph J. Simeone Professor of Law
Center for Health Law Studies
William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law

Courses Taught

Bioethics, Civil Procedure I, Civil Procedure II, Disability Law, Health Care Ethics, Health Care Law


Professor Pendo earned her B.A. with Honors from UCLA, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law. After graduation, she clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced at a litigation firm and in the Employee Benefits / ERISA group at MetLife in New York. She is a member of the State Bars of California and New York.

Practice Areas

Professor Pendo is an expert in disability law, bioethics and the law, and health law and policy. She is a specialist on the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability health disparities, legal obligations of providers, institutions, and employers under anti-discrimination laws, and equity issues in private and public insurance. 

Research Interests

Professor Pendo uses a disability justice framework to study the impact of health care and anti-discrimination laws on outcomes and experiences of people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in order to increase access, opportunity, and equity in our health care systems, workplaces, and communities. In 2020, she co-authored a report on using law and policy to promote health for people with disabilities for the Healthy People 2020 Law and Health Policy Project, a partnership between the HHS ODPHP, the CDC, and the CDC Foundation funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She is also a co-investigator on a project funded by the Greenwall Foundation identifying promising practices and legal resources needed by state medical boards to better protect patients. 

Publications and Media Placements

She has published more than 40 law review articles, books, and other publications in Health Affairs, NEJM, Yale Journal of Health Policy and Ethics, Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, The Hastings Center Report, Arizona State Law Journal, Wake Forest Law Review, U.C. Davis Law Review and Utah Law Review, among others, and is one of the authors of a leading casebook, Health Law: Cases, Materials and Problems (West).  She published a pioneering series of articles exposing the connection between inaccessible medical and diagnostic equipment, disability bias, and health disparities. She is part of a collaboration analyzing the first national study of U.S. physicians to understand their knowledge of the ADA, responsibilities under that law, and perceptions of caring for patients with disabilities.  She also has published works exploring the application of the ADA during the pandemic, including access to life-saving health care, employment protections, vaccination policies, and mask requirements.  She is a frequent speaker at academic conferences and symposia, to the legal profession, with community groups, and to the media.

Publication List

Honors and Awards

Professor Pendo was named Joseph J. Simeone Professor of Law in 2015. She is the recipient of the YWCA Leadership Award in recognition of leadership in the Saint Louis University community, the Eileen H. Searls Service Award given by the Saint Louis University School of Law Women Law Students’ Association, and the Women’s Justice Legal Scholar Award awarded by the Saint Louis Daily Record. She is also the first recipient of the University Student Government Association Faculty Excellence Award for Diversity and Social Justice.

Professional Organizations and Associations

Professor Pendo is a member of the Center for Health Law Studies and the William C. Wefel Center for Employment Law.  She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Association, a past Chair of Association of American Law Schools Section on Law, Medicine and Health Care, and served on the ABA Commission on Disability Rights. 

Community Work and Service

Professor Pendo embraces the mission of the University and School of Law to serve others and to promote social justice.  While living in Florida, she chaired the Florida Managed Care Ombudsman Committee, a statewide program that provides individual assistance to Florida residents in understanding and navigating the managed care grievance process.  While at the School of Law, she partnered with community leaders and organizations and developed service-learning projects with her students.  Her record of service and leadership to the School of Law and University community has been recognized through the Eileen H. Searls Service Award given by the School of Law Women Students’ Association, the YWCA University Leadership Award, and the Women’s Justice Legal Scholar Award awarded by the Saint Louis Daily Record.  She is also the first recipient of the University SGA Faculty Excellence Award for Diversity and Social Justice.