“The horizon recedes as we advance” was a phrase often quoted by Loyola Law School Dean Emeritus Gerald “Gerry” McLaughlin. Dean McLaughlin was a stalwart friend of Disability Rights Legal Center and a founder of the Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC), who passed away on April 12, 2015.
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Inland Empire Program
Inland Empire Program is located at the University of La Verne College of Law where students work with staff attorneys to provide direct legal services to the communities of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. As one of two-in house legal clinics at the University of La Verne, College of Law, the Inland Empire Program is a clinical educational program that reviews cases involving disability litigation, as well as education advocacy.
The Inland Empire is one of the fastest growing areas in California and covers nearly 30,000 square miles. Yet legal services are dismayingly scarce for low-income people with disabilities. The Inland Empire Program provides education advocacy services, civil rights litigation, and participates in numerous collaborative efforts to facilitate interagency cooperation among agencies charged with providing programs, services and supports to children and adults with disabilities.
The Inland Empire Program conducts brief services (limited representation on non-litigation matters) and intakes on behalf of DRLC in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. For more information or to complete an intake, please call (909) 460-2051.
Education Advocacy in the Inland Empire
The Inland Empire Program works to counteract the historical lack of oversight in the Inland counties over the provision of special education services to low-income students with disabilities. Some of the systemic problems we are combating in the area include, failure to identify children with disabilities, failure to assess, poor assessments, inadequate Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and failure to implement existing IEPs. The Inland Empire Program works with pro bono co-counsel, community advocates, law clerks, and parents towards this end.
Civil Rights Litigation in the Inland Empire
In addition to assisting Disability Litigation Program attorneys in DRLC's Los Angeles office, the Inland Empire Program also litigates cases (both class action and non-action) out of the Inland Empire Office. Those cases involve access to higher education, access to courts, access to educational and mental health services in juvenile hall, and access to playgrounds by children with disabilities.
Collaborative Efforts in the Inland Empire
The Inland Empire Program consistently partakes in community outreach, attends resource and health fairs, and leads presentations/seminars at several parent groups in the area. They are a member of the Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative and co-chaired the Education Committee for the Collaborative’s first Disabilities Expo held on October 26, 2006 at Loma Linda University. Additionally, the Inland Empire Program participates in a working group that resulted from DRLC’s litigation against the County of San Bernardino’s Probation Department, Superintendent of Schools, and County Mental Health, involving education and mental health services for children in juvenile hall.