Paying Forward: Disability Law Uniteds Extern Program

I have a strong interest in immigration law and policy and heard about the vital work Disability Law United’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project is doing.  Knowing that the attorneys at Disability Law United have a reputation for doing smart, high-stakes work that improves people’s lives, I applied for a Disability Law United externship as a way to challenge myself to grow in new areas while doing work I believe in.”  – Allison Crennen-Dunlap, J.D. Candidate, Class of 2019, University of Denver – Sturm College of Law. Disability Law United Extern Spring 2019

Image: Two people standing underneath a tree the woman on the right has light skin and dark hair and glasses the man on the left has dark skin dark hair and glasses.Since 2015, Disability Law United has offered first-hand experience in civil rights litigation, research and advocacy to area law students through its extern program. Co-Executive Director, Amy Robertson says, “it is always exciting to work with the next generation of civil rights lawyers and leaders, especially in collaboration with Denver Law given its robust commitment to experiential learning.” To date, Disability Law United has offered experience in civil rights law to 8 externs.

This summer is no different, as Disability Law United welcomes externs Jordan Staley and Kiley Oblisk.  Jordan is a rising third year law student, who will be working with Disability Law United’s Accessibility Projects including communications access for Deaf and hard of hearing prisoners and hospital patients. During his 2L year, Jordan worked in Denver Law’s Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented a federal prisoner in a religious discrimination case. He’s excited to continue working in civil rights this summer and looks forward to the opportunity to learn more about disability law.  Kiley is a rising second year law student joining Disability Law United’s Immigration Detention Accountability Project. Prior to law school, she worked for the Colorado Public Defender in Durango, working especially closely with non-citizen clients and their attorneys, and at Denver Law she’s a part of the Immigration Law and Policy Clinic and an immigration-related student group. She also likes being outside with her dog, so she’ll fit right in at Disability Law United.

Touting one of the largest externship programs in the country, Denver Law’s Legal Externship Program collaborates with law firms and legal non-profits to provide an experiential experience to effectively bridge the transition from law student to lawyer. Denver Law’s Director of Externships and Public Interest Initiatives, Alexi Freeman, says, “We look for organizations interested and invested in teaching and mentoring students; organizations that will provide our students with meaningful assignments that go beyond what is often the norm for legal interns. Disability Law United is a multi-faceted and well-respected civil rights organization. It’s broader than just litigation, including education, policy work, and coalition building.”  Freeman goes on to say, “Not many organizations have such a rich history of supporting people with disabilities, incarcerated individuals and immigrants in detention and the intersection among them. I know our students will be involved in cutting-edge legal initiatives and because of Disability Law United’s small size and collaborative ethos, I know our students’ voices will be heard and their talents well-used. Disability Law United is a tremendous learning environment for students who are interested in social change.”

Elizabeth Jordan, Disability Law United’s Director of the Immigration Detention Accountability Project, enjoys working with externs at Disability Law United and also appreciates what they bring to the organization. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that without externs our immigration work would not be possible. Their hard work, extensive knowledge and skills, and desire to fight for justice for detained immigrants have greatly expanded our capacity”, states Jordan.

Interested in supporting the next generation of lawyers fighting for social justice? Help support Disability Law United’s work with Externs here.

Interested in being an Extern at Disability Law United? Contact

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