Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) Pro Bono Opportunities

Founded in 1979 by a unique alliance of people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc. (DREDF) is a national law and policy center dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities through legislation, litigation, advocacy, and education. Nationally recognized for our expertise in the interpretation of federal and California disability civil rights laws, DREDF undertakes high-impact litigation in the areas of employment, housing, transportation, higher education, architectural access, public accommodations, access to governmental services and benefits, and special education. Our practice includes, for example, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and California disability rights laws such as the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act.


As the California IOLTA Support Center for disability rights, a key focus of our mission is to ensure access to justice for legal aid-eligible Californians, often in close partnership with other California legal aid offices. The majority of our litigation work is also done in collaboration with private bar co-counsel. This includes large law firms (for example, Heller Ehrman; Orrick Herrington; Reed Smith; and Wilson Sonsini), as well as smaller private law offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, in other parts of California, and in other parts of the country.


DREDF cases co-counseled with the private bar have included lawsuits:


*To enforce the special education entitlements of children whose disabilities affect learning;


*To challenge insurance practices that discriminate against people with mental health disabilities;


*To ensure that senior housing facilities meet architectural access standards;


*To ensure that people with mobility disabilities have nondiscriminatory access to Amtrak bus and rail services;


*To ensure that people with visual disabilities can obtain written information from government agencies in accessible media, such as large print, Braille or electronic formats;


*To ensure that people with AIDS or hearing impairments are not illegally denied employment opportunities; and


*To ensure that children with medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes have access to standard, simple health maintenance devices and procedures critical to keeping them safe while at day care or in public schools.


We are happy to provide references to private bar attorneys who have worked closely with DREDF on litigation matters. Given the diversity of our work, we are confident that we can offer pro bono opportunities compatible with any number of specific priorities and interests you may have - to give new attorneys direct contact with clients and primary responsibility for cases, to work on cutting-edge legal issues, to protect and advance civil rights, and to serve local communities and under-represented Californians.


Pro Bono Contact: