Disability Rights Legal Center

Disability Rights Legal Center - DRLC (formerly Western Law Center for Disability Rights) is an independent, nonprofit law office that provides free legal services to persons with disabilities. Disability Rights Legal Center is located at the LLS Public Interest Law Center in downtown Los Angeles, with a satellite office at the University of La Verne College Of Law.

Utilizing a legal and administrative staff, law student externs and volunteer attorneys, the Center provides much needed assistance to persons with disabilities through impact litigation, individual representation, telephone assistance trainings, and meaningful referrals to other agencies. These efforts, contributing significantly to the ability of persons with disabilities to secure their legal rights, are undertaken through the following projects:

  • The Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC) is a community-based joint program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School. The CLRC provides free and confidential information and resources on cancer-related legal issues to people with cancer, their families, friends, employers, health care professionals, and others coping with cancer.

    The CLRC has a national toll free Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC) where callers can receive information about relevant laws and resources for their particular situation. The CLRC volunteer panel of attorneys and other professionals provide more in-depth information and counsel to CLRC callers.

    The CLRC has extensive resources on a broad range of cancer-related legal issues, including health insurance, employment, government benefits, estate planning, advance health care directives, family law, and consumer assistance.

    Staff members speak at workshops and outreach programs in the cancer community, including cancer support groups and in-service trainings for health care professionals. The CLRC regularly hosts informational booths at health fairs and other events in the cancer community. If you would like a CLRC staff person to attend your next event, please call us at 866-THE-CLRC.

  • The Civil Rights Litigation Project provides representation for low-income individuals with disabilities facing discrimination. We concentrate on cases that will establish important legal principles or benefit large groups of people with disabilities. We provide legal services without charge to its clients.

    Our cases challenge discriminatory practices by government agencies, businesses, and educational institutions. Examples include, inaccessible newly constructed or altered buildings, refusal to provide sign language interpreters or alternative format materials, inaccessible government programs, discriminatory insurance and health care systems, inaccessible transportation services, and policies that exclude people with disabilities. To file a disability discrimination claim call, 213.736.1334.

  • The Education Advocacy Project (EAP) has worked to ensure that quality legal representation is available to traditionally underrepresented communities needing special education services. Students of color and low-income students with disabilities are often left out of special education, which leads to segregation, ineffective educational services, failure in school, and involvement in the juvenile justice system.

    The EAP focuses it advocacy on remediation of the denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and discrimination against children with disabilities in education by identifying systemic special education and related issues and addressing these issues through impact and individual litigation as well as appearing as amicus curiae in special education cases raising significant systemic educational issues. Current systemic issues include, but are not limited to: the denial of FAPE to children and youth in the juvenile and adult criminal justice system, the denial of adequate transition services, the denial of FAPE to and expulsion of children with behavioral disorders, among other issues. The EAP often co-counsels these cases with other local law firms and nonprofit legal agencies.

  • The Inland Empire Program is one of the fastest growing areas in California and covers nearly 30,000 square miles. Yet legal services are dismayingly scarce for low-income people with disabilities. Therefore, Disability Rights Legal Center has expanded its offices to serve San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. We are accepting special education and civil rights cases in those counties.

  • Lawyer Referral Service - We operate a State Bar certified Lawyer Referral Service, which refers callers with disability-related cases to experienced private attorneys in Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties. The service provides four subject-matter panels: Labor and Employment, Access to Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, and Administrative Law.

  • The Community Advocacy Program (CAP) serves as the front door to the Disability Rights Legal Center. CAP's method of intake reflects our deep conviction that many options outside of litigation are available to individuals with disability related disputes. CAP works hand-in-hand with Education Advocacy Project, and Civil Rights Litigation Project to conduct intake. The aim of CAP is to assist and empower those involved in conflicts to evaluate the options available to resolve their disputes. The service focuses on informing callers of all their options -- including litigation, mediation, and self-help - helping the callers decide which options to pursue, and identifying appropriate resources and referrals. We also offer Ask-A-Lawyer events at local Independent Living Centers and with other disability organizations in the community.

  • Pro Bono Program - Each year, the DRLC receives thousands of requests for legal assistance from people with disabilities-more than 5,400 such requests last year. While our committed staff and student externs work to capacity providing legal assistance, the need for our services far exceeds our resources. As a result, we rely heavily on our pro bono partners.

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