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UConn Law and Disability Rights Connecticut establish Legal Clinic

Wooden gavel with wheelchair in background

The UConn School of Law has joined forces with Disability Rights Connecticut to offer a clinic providing legal advocacy for people with disabilities.

Law students participating in the new Disability Rights Clinic will help clients with legal problems involving housing, education, employment, health care and other issues. They will work under the supervision of Deborah Dorfman, executive director of Disability Rights Connecticut, and other lawyers on the agency’s staff.

The clinic has enrolled four students for the Fall 2022 semester.

“We’re delighted to collaborate in this exciting partnership,” Dean Eboni S. Nelson said. “It will allow our students to share in the deeply meaningful and impactful work that Disability Rights Connecticut does in the community while they learn about a very important area of the law.”

“We are excited and honored to partner with the University of Connecticut School of Law on the Disability Law Clinic and are deeply appreciative of the students’ interest and time working to advocate the rights of people with disabilities,” Dorman said. “This opportunity is of enormous benefit to DRCT and its clients and constituents as it enables DRCT to expand its current advocacy capacity.”

Students enrolled in the clinic will receive hands-on training in the practical skills required to represent clients and advocate on issues. In addition to their fieldwork, students will take part in a weekly seminar taught by Dorfman.

The clinic will be offered during the fall semester and the seminar will be held in the evenings to accommodate students in the Evening Division. Participation in the clinic will satisfy the law school’s practice-based learning requirement.

“I’m very pleased to see this opportunity open to our students, particularly our Evening Division students,” said Professor Jennifer Mailly, who worked to set up the clinic before she retired in June from the position of associate dean for experiential education.

“Our students’ work with Disability Rights Connecticut will be tremendously valuable to the organization and the clients and communities it serves,” said Jessica Rubin, the new associate dean for experiential education. “The clinical work will extend and reinforce students’ legal skills and professional training.”

The establishment of this clinic builds upon the law school’s robust offerings in clinical and experiential education. UConn School of Law offers six partnership and five in-house clinics, as well as six field placement programs to provide students with practical legal training.

Disability Rights Connecticut is an independent, statewide, non-profit agency that advocates for the human, civil and legal rights of people with disabilities in Connecticut. It serves as the state’s federally mandated protection and advocacy system and client assistance program.

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