Clinic: Disability Rights Clinic Seminar (LAW-756-006)
Robert Dinerstein, Adrian Alvarez
Assessment: For seminar, we use regular written assessments, participation in class and in simulations, written and oral critiques of simulations, participation in case rounds, and written and oral reflections to assess student performance related to our learning goals.
The DRLC is a two-semester clinic in which law students represent clients and their families in a variety of matters related to disability law and people with disabilities (both mental and physical). A significant focus of the DRLC is on examining circumstances in which clients with disabilities are wrongly assumed to lack physical or mental capacity to participate in society to the same extent as people without disabilities. Student teams take on a docket with cases covering a wide variety of cases that have included education (access to education, special education, and discipline), access and discrimination claims arising under Titles I-III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, housing law, and immigration issues. In addition, each year DRLC student attorneys take on broader advocacy projects that work on systemic reform, policy issues, or information sharing among grassroots organizations. Students have primary responsibility for handling all aspects of the client’s case, from initial interview through meetings (such as IEP meetings in special education cases) and any contested hearing or trial (and, if necessary, appeal). Students also have the opportunity to interact with clients with a range of disabilities, and with their family members, and to explore the nature of the lawyer-client relationship with such clients. In addition, we will focus on the various ways in which society in general, and the legal system in particular, deals with people with disabilities. In both casework and in the seminar, students learn pre-litigation skills (interviewing, counseling, negotiation, development of case theory), litigation skills (direct examination, cross-examination, openings and closings), dealing with expert witnesses, and mediation skills. Inevitably, as well, students confront ethical issues that arise in the practice of law, as clinics, including the DRLC, provide excellent sites for learning about, and reflecting upon, ethical issues that can be straightforward or complex. Students receive a total of seven (7) credits per semester to cover the weekly clinic seminar, case rounds, and work on clinic cases. Evidence is a co-requisite for the DRLC—if not taken already, it must be taken during the summer preceding entry into clinic or, at the latest, in the fall semester in which one is enrolled in clinic.
Textbooks and Other Materials
The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.
Please see the attached Fall 2016 syllabus for an example of the books our students use.
First Class Readings
Not available at this time.
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