The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, located in Berkeley, California seeks candidates for collaboration on Skadden, Equal Justice Works (EJW), and other public interest fellowship applications for the two year period beginning fall 2015. If awarded, such fellowships offer recent law graduates an invaluable opportunity for entry-level training in impact disability civil rights litigation, as well as many other aspects of a public interest practice.
Founded in 1979 by persons with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, DREDF is a national, non-profit law and policy organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. We work through legislation, litigation, informal and formal advocacy, and education & training of lawyers, advocates, and clients with respect to disability issues. Since 1988, DREDF has taught disability rights courses at Bay Area law schools, and we work regularly with law student interns. Our office is unique in that it is comprised of not only attorneys, but also special education advocates and policy analysts, which provides for truly interdisciplinary and multifaceted perspectives on disability rights issues.
DREDF is particularly interested in candidates who want to collaborate on more than one fellowship application, and particularly interested in sponsoring candidates to work on a disability civil rights project in one of the following three areas:
- Technology Access: Civic, commercial, social and personal activities are increasingly carried out on the Internet. Rapid technological innovation is the hallmark of the age, both in cyberspace and in the physical environment. It is critically important to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access this 21st century world. DREDF is at the forefront of addressing the challenging legal and practical questions that are unfolding with this new reality. In October 2012, DREDF reached an historic settlement resolving a federal lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which challenged Netflix’s failure to provide closed captioning for its streaming videos. Another ongoing ADA class-action lawsuit filed in July 2012 alleges that Wal–Mart illegally positions “point-of-sale” machines beyond the reach of shoppers who use wheelchairs and scooters. DREDF is also interested in other technology access issues (e.g., involving online education, and services now reliant on automation in lieu of human staff), which we hope to pursue through a mix of policy and litigation activities.
- Health Care Access: Federal health care reform and current state and federal economic challenges are combining to create dramatic changes in the way health care and long-term care is provided and funded in the United States. As Affordable Care Act implementation begins in times of budget cuts, DREDF is focused on the many access implications for people with disabilities. These include architectural, technological, and communications barriers in health care settings; changes in delivery of specialty care; increased implementation of mandatory managed care for Medicaid users; and threats to the independent living supports necessary to keep people with disabilities out of institutions.
- Education Access: Public education provides the primary preparation for economic and social participation in society, yet today many students with disabilities are still denied equal educational opportunity. For over three decades, DREDF has worked to preserve, strengthen and enforce the rights of children with disabilities through legal advocacy and training. In August 2013, DREDF prevailed in a landmark case before the California Supreme Court that ensures children with diabetes receive the proper care they need to be healthy and medically safe at school. DREDF is also dedicated to ending the disproportionate discipline of students of color with disabilities and works to ensure these students receive meaningful and appropriate special education services.
Other Proposals Also Invited: While these are our current preferred focus areas, DREDF is also open to other project ideas proposed by candidates who have a particularly strong interest in other areas of disability rights advocacy.
- Demonstrated commitment to public interest law
- Established knowledge of and interest in civil rights laws
- The ability to work independently and cordially with others
- Strong academic performance
- Excellent legal research and writing skills
- DREDF is an equal opportunity employer and individuals with disabilities, minority, and women candidates are especially encouraged to apply.
Applications for sponsorship must be submitted to DREDF by Tuesday, July 15, 2014 (before close-of-business Pacific Time).
Your application should include:
- A detailed cover letter describing your interest in DREDF, the fellowship(s), and a brief project proposal (to be developed more fully in collaboration with DREDF)
- List of three references (including nature of supervision, email addresses, and phone numbers)
- Writing Sample
DREDF works collaboratively and intensively with prospective fellows to develop projects that address disability civil rights law issues. We have been successful in obtaining past fellowship awards. DREDF is committed to fully supporting and advising the applicant during the application process to ensure that a high quality and well–informed application is ultimately compiled and submitted. The collaborative applications are due to EJW on September 17, 2014, and to Skadden on October 6, 2014.
Please submit your applications by email to Hongyu Min at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include the following language on the “subject” line of your e-mail: “Attn – 2015-2017 Fellowship Application
(YOUR LAST NAME)”.
3075 Adeline Street, Suite 210
Berkeley, CA 94703