I am honored to be the new Executive Director of Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC), a national cross-disability civil rights organization whose mission is to champion the rights of people with disabilities through education, advocacy, and litigation. DRLC encompasses a wide range of practice areas serving people with all types of disabilities, including people affected by cancer and HIV/AIDS.
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Law Student Externship and Pro Bono Student Opportunities
Pro Bono Attorney Opportunities
The Pro Bono Program gives attorneys who are interested in disability civil rights law, special education law, cancer advocacy and other related opportunities to hone their advocacy skills and to make a difference in the community.
- Cancer Legal Resource Center - you have the opportunity to assist people with cancer as they face converging legal and medical problems. We need volunteer attorneys with insurance, medical, housing, employment, guardianship, estate planning, and other expertise.
- Disability Litigation Program - transform your community by removing barriers that deny equal access to people with disabilities. We need attorneys to co-counsel with us and to take referrals of large and small disability civil rights cases.
- Education Advocacy Program - help a student in need of special education achieve tremendous results. We need volunteer attorneys to participate in negotiating individualized Education Plans with school districts to ensure low-income and minority children receive the special education services they need. We provide free MCLE training and ongoing support to our EAP volunteers.
For more information or to volunteer, please click here.
Law Student Externship and Pro Bono Student Opportunities
Cancer Rights Program Externship
The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC), a joint program of Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School, provides information, education, and referrals about cancer-related legal issues to the public through its national telephone assistance line. The CLRC also conducts national education and outreach programs for community groups, employers, and healthcare professionals and is actively involved in community activities to raise public awareness of cancer-related legal and public policy issues.
Students receive training in cancer-related legal issues, including: employment, health law, estate planning, public benefits, consumer law, and various other areas of cancer rights law. In addition, all students gain hands-on experience assisting people with cancer, cancer survivors, their families, friends, and others affected by cancer. Get actively involved by interviewing CLRC callers and providing telephone assistance and information. Enhance your research and writing skills by drafting correspondence and conducting legal research for callers. Law Clerks and Externs have the additional opportunity to participate in health fairs and community programs as schedules permit. Enrich your law school experience and join us in this worthwhile program!
Students can enroll in as low as 1 unit per semester for CLRC. Loyola Law School students may satisfy their 40 hour Pro Bono graduation requirement by completing a 2 unit externship with the CLRC. Given the nature of this externship, students schedule their own in office hours to fulfill their requirements.
Civil Rights Program Externship
Students working with DRLC's Civil Rights Program will have the opportunity to: (1) work on class action and individual impact cases with the Disability Litigation Program and Education Advocacy Programs, allowing them to develop legal research and writing skills and actively participate in all phases of litigation; and (2) conduct intake and provide limited scope advocacy services under the Community Advocacy Program. Students interested in working specifically on issues impacting people with HIV may be considered for placement with DRLC's HIV Law and Policy Project (opportunities are limited). Students who would like to work in the Inland Empire may be placed with DRLC's Inland Empire Program, where they will provide Civil Rights Program services to the communities of the Inland Empire
Students can enroll in as low as 2 units per semester for the Civil Rights Program. Loyola students may satisfy their 40 hour Pro Bono graduation requirement by completing a 2 unit externship. Given the nature of this externship, students schedule their own in office hours to fulfill their requirements.
Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP)
LA HLPP provides legal assistance and files HIV-related civil rights litigation to promote the civil rights and wellbeing of people living with HIV in Los Angeles County. Social realities - such as prejudice, poverty, and barriers to health care - influence the legal needs of this community and their ability access legal help. LA HLPP offers legal services where these social, medical, and legal realities intersect such as in fair employment and housing, privacy, access to treatment, public benefits, immigration, and advance medical or financial planning.
Students working with LA HLPP will have the opportunity to: interview potential clients about their cases; identify, research, and analyze clients’ legal issues under attorney supervision; evaluate and recommend to attorneys how LA HLPP should represent or advise a client; draft documents for limited-scope representation such as retainer agreements, educational letters, and requests for reasonable accommodations; research, review, and draft all documents for civil rights litigation; staff intake, advice, and brief service clinics in the community; research, create, and present trainings on legal issues faced by people living with HIV; administer a new legal needs assessment in the community; and design, research, and write memoranda on client matters or legal and public policy topics within LA HLPP’s mission (this work product may also serve as a writing sample).
Additionally, during the clerkship students will develop the following skills for the practice of law: legal interviewing and issue spotting; legal researching and analysis; objective and persuasive writing at the highest level of accuracy and effectiveness; meaningful and informed case planning; communicating empathetically and professionally with clients; and researching and applying the California Rules of Professional Conduct in cases.
For questions, please email LA HLPP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Volunteer Opportunities
DRLC needs enthusiastic volunteers for all our programs. Please call 213-736-1479 to volunteer. If you have skills and talents in areas not listed below, just let us know!
Intake: Return phone calls regarding disability-related disputes, consult with attorneys on recommendations and write letters to callers providing resources and referrals. This does not require legal knowledge or law degree, just the ability to ask a set of questions, listen sympathetically, take notes of the caller's issue and consult with an attorney as to what course of action DRLC will take. This is a great opportunity to help someone in a difficult situation!
We need Volunteers to assist with calls to DRLC general telephone line and to the Cancer Legal Resource Center information line. We provide training in interviewing skills, data entry and common legal issues.
Minimum commitment = 4 hours a week (weekdays only). We especially need volunteers in January (January 2-24), May, August, September, and December.
Administration: Assist with operations, financial/statistical projects, administrative work, filing documents, organizing press packets, putting together resource packets, creating address labels and data entry. We also need paralegal assistance with case files.
Special Events: We need volunteers to assist with planning and staffing outreach events (health fairs, open houses, training events). You can work on the entire event or just one part of it. Often you can work from your own home/office on your own schedule
If you have questions or need additional information about our programs or application process, please contact Jonathan Rivera, Office Coordinator.