Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund Fellowship Application Now Available for 2014-2016

The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), 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 2014. 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. They 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 they work regularly with law student interns. The 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 two 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. 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). 

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. 

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

Applications for sponsorship must be submitted to DREDF by Monday, July 22, 2013 (before close-of-business Pacific Time). 

For application instructions and contact information, please visit Symplicity.