Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) is the state's protection and advocacy agency for people with all types of serious disabilities. It provides a wide variety of legal and advocacy services for people who have been traditionally underserved by the legal profession. Areas of DRW advocacy include unnecessary institutionalization, access to community-based support services, rights violations in institutions, abuse and neglect, special education, and employment and housing discrimination. DRW staff also engage in impact litigation, are active in the administrative and legislative processes, have written extensively on the legal rights of people with disabilities, and conduct statewide training for attorneys, advocates, providers of human services, educators, and people with disabilities and their families.

DRW provides legal advocacy throughout the state from offices in Madison, Milwaukee and Rice Lake. Both the Madison and Milwaukee offices are able to house law student externs. DRW's attorneys are offering a clinical law experience for up to 3 students per semester and over the summer. The students are assigned, based to the extent possible on their preference, to specific attorneys to work on identified disability-related legal projects.

Student activities can include investigation of client complaints, filing grievances and requests for hearings, informal negotiations, and preparation for litigation and/or administrative hearings. In the legislative and administrative arenas, law student opportunities are numerous, including background research on legislation, analyzing bills and administrative rules, and doing legal analysis, working with consumer groups, meeting with legislators and appearing at public hearings.

Students participating in the DRW clinical will be expected to have taken a disability law seminar in the past or to enroll in the disability law seminar when it is next offered. The disability law seminar is generally offered in the fall semester on an every-other-year basis.

DRW is committed to respecting the cultural values and personal choices of those who seek our services, and to eliminating all forms of discrimination in the human service system. We value diversity in all aspects of our agency's operations.

If you are interested in an Externship at DRW, please submit a letter giving some background on your interest in disability issues/social justice, and an indication of any specific areas you would like to concentrate on (special education, employment discrimination, mental health, etc.), to:

Disability Rights Wisconsin
131 W. Wilson St., Ste. 700
Madison, WI 53703

You will be contacted to meet with DRW lawyers to discuss the potential placement, and you should bring a resume and writing sample to that meeting.

For further information, you may also e-mail Kit Kerschensteiner at kitk@drwi.org or call 608-267-0214.

For more information about DRW, please see its web site: http://www.disabilityrightswi.org/

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