Disability Rights Washington – Legal Intern, open until filled

Position: Intern
Open to: All law students
Time commitment: Students interested in starting during the school year either commit to summer employment as well or commit to a minimum of 20 hours per week for a semester.
Location: Disability Rights Washington is located in the International District in Seattle. Disability Rights Washington also has an office located in downtown Spokane.
Application Process: Submit a cover letter, resume, three professional references and a writing sample to the contact below.
Application Deadline: Open until filled
Contact: jodir@dr-wa.org

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) is a private, non-profit organization protecting the rights of people with disabilities statewide. Our mission is to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. DRW’s services include information and referral services, rights publications, policy analysis, coalition building, community education, direct advocacy, and legal representation focusing on large impact litigation. DRW focuses on issues including abuse and neglect in community residential programs and state institutions, discrimination in housing, employment and transportation, access to health care and support services, assistive technology, and education. DRW has two offices, one located in Seattle and its new office located in Spokane. DRW serves individuals statewide.

Additionally, DRW is seeking interns for its project: Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID). AVID is a distinct project focused on increasing the capacity of prisoners with disabilities and their family members to advocate for improved conditions in prison and successful transition to the community upon release and to address the treatment of individuals with mental illness in King County jails. AVID will accomplish these goals through outreach and monitoring of prisons, providing technical assistance to inmates about how they can be better advocates within prisons and jails or upon reentry to the community, drafting and disseminating reports, and advocating with the Washington State Department of Corrections and King County.

DRW legal interns including the AVID interns generally have the opportunity to utilize and develop their legal skills by working on each of the following three areas:

  • Litigation: Legal Interns may work with the legal team on a variety of substantive issues affecting people with disabilities in various stages of advocacy including, but not limited to, investigation, legal research and writing, and discovery in large impact cases.
  • Technical Assistance: Legal Interns may work on the legal team responding to calls and letters from individuals seeking assistance from DRW. This requires interviewing clients on the telephone to identify issues, exploring options for resolving these issues, researching answers to inquiries, providing information and referral services, and developing publications to share with callers.
  • Public Policy and Coalition Building: Legal Interns may work with the systems team on researching and preparing memoranda on significant legal issues affecting people with disabilities and other public policy related issues. The specific responsibilities of the intern include, but are not limited to, drafting summaries of legal issues for dissemination to individuals with disabilities, research and analysis of proposed legislation, drafting of proposed legislation, and creating training materials.

Disability Rights Washington provides direct supervision from an attorney on a scheduled and as needed basis. DRW’s summer internship program includes an intensive orientation with an overview of DRW, disability culture, training on relevant rules of professional conduct, and training on subjects of specific relevance to the intern’s responsibilities. Additionally, during the summer, DRW staff host brown bag lunches during which various staff discuss specific projects, provide training on conducting legislative bill tracking, and provide descriptions of individual staff’s work experience. Finally, as time permits, student interns have the opportunity to see the issues DRW addresses first hand with DRW staff, such as visits to the state psychiatric hospitals, institutions for people with developmental disabilities, and community residences.