Disability Rights Law Clinic: Building on 16 Years of Advocacy for People with Disabilities

Image: Multicolored graphic of variously-abled individuals

The Disability Rights Law Clinic (DRLC) takes a variety of cases to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Like other WCL clinics, DRLC operated virtually during the 2020-2021 school year; however, that did not prevent student attorneys from achieving significant victories for their clients. A few highlights:

  • Six student attorneys represented three clients who receive in-home Personal Care Aide (PCA) services. The clients needed multiple hours of assistance each day, but all were denied the number of hours of assistance they needed. DRLC student attorneys worked with their clients and their clients’ family members and medical providers to build a case for the level of assistance their clients required. Ultimately, all three student teams were successful in obtaining the number of hours of assistance their clients needed. Two of the students involved in this advocacy, Jackie Adelsberg and Sharon Kimel, received the 2021 Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student Award for their advocacy.
  • DRLC student attorneys successfully advocated for clients involved in the criminal legal system. Two student attorneys worked on a compassionate release motion, which resulted in their client being released from prison. Another student attorney team filed a motion to seal their client’s criminal record, which was granted.
  • Two student attorneys successfully advocated for a school district to provide compensatory orientation and mobility services to a student with a visual impairment who was denied those services.

DRLC celebrated its 16th anniversary during 2020-21. To read more about DRLC’s history and work, see this article in the American University Washington College of Law's magazine, The Advocate.