Law Fellows Program

NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2022-2023 CYCLE. 

DEADLINE: Friday, May 6, 2022 by 11:59 pm PST. 

 

The Coelho Center Law Fellowship Program

Central to the mission of The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation is bringing together and fostering the development of leaders from our disability community. In particular, we believe in creating a strong pipeline of law students with disabilities who will go on to serve as attorneys, judges, public policy professionals, and public servants. Our ultimate goal is to increase representation in policy spaces where decisions are being made. 

As the disability rights slogan goes, "Nothing About Us Without Us!" or more aptly "Nothing Without Us!" because people with disabilities belong in every sector of society, including the legal profession. We need people with disabilities in law schools, in law firms, in the courts, on the bench, in the Congress, in legal academia and beyond! 

In order to do so, we need to strengthen the pathway into law school for disabled students. Too often, students with disabilities are discouraged from attaining higher education. Educational barriers, along with negative assumptions and attitudes, dissuade our community from reaching careers in law and policy.

This has to change. Our program targets college students and recent graduates with disabilities to intervene and provide encouragement, support and mentorship that is crucial to success. Read more about our current Fellows, class of 2021-2022 here.

Currently, there is no program like The Coelho Center Law Fellowship Program with a specific mission to train and mentor college students with disabilities to think about a path toward law school.

Our 2022-2023 Coelho Law Fellowship offers: 

  • A one-week summer intensive disability rights law course held in-person at Loyola Law School in Downtown Los Angeles. 
  • An academic year-long virtual course.  The program is designed to train and mentor students with disabilities to think about a path toward law school. The program runs from August 2022 to May 2023 on the first Saturday of the month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT.  Sessions include:  

    • Admissions - How to apply to law school.
    • Confronting barriers to access in law school.
    • Networking with disability attorneys and policy-makers.
    • Continuation of the topics from the summer session. 
    • Monthly check-ins on students' educational and professional progress. 
    • Fellowship cohort team-building activities.
    • Discussion on current law and policies affecting people with disabilities. 
  • Academic and planning support throughout the law school application process and during law school.

  • Disability advocacy project.  All fellows will identify a topic of interest and select one of two projects: (1) research, write, present and submit a 10-page policy report, and/or (2) organize and execute a panel discussion with policy experts.  Students will be guided on their projects with the support of Professor Katherine Perez. 

  • Publication opportunity on The Coelho Center Blog: https://thecoelhocenterblog.wordpress.com/ 
  • $1000 stipend upon completion of the program.

Summer Intensive Disability Rights Law Course Dates:

  • Monday, July 11 - Saturday, July 16, 2022 (10:00am-4:00pm PT)

(*Applicants must affirm that if chosen they will make an honest effort to attend all fellowship programming or make plans to review recordings.)

Webinar Course Dates (first Saturday of each month):

  • Saturday, August 6, 2022 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, September 3, 2022 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, October 1, 2022 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, November 5, 2022 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, December 3, 2022 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, January 7, 2023 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, February 4, 2023 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, March 4, 2023 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, April 1, 2023 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)
  • Saturday, May 6, 2023 (9-12pm PT; 11-2pm CT; 12-3pm ET)

(*Applicants must affirm that if chosen they will make an honest effort to attend all fellowship programming or make plans to review recordings.)

Tentative Graduation Date: 

  • Saturday, June 3, 2023 (9-11am PT; 11-1pm CT; 12-2pm ET)

(*Applicants must affirm that if chosen they will make an honest effort to attend all fellowship programming or make plans to review recordings.)

Eligibility to Apply:

The Coelho Center Law Fellowship Program is designed to serve students with disabilities interested in pursuing law school. As such, students who identify as a person with a disability/disabled are strongly encouraged to apply. Students must be currently enrolled in a community college, college, or university, or be a recent graduate. Applicants do not need to be certain that they would like to attend law school. Only an interest in the law is required.  

International Students:

International students with an interest in learning about U.S. disability rights law and policy are welcome to apply. Students must be currently enrolled in college, university or its equivalent, or be a recent graduate.  International applicants do not need to have plans to attend law school in the U.S.  

A Note on Disability: 

The Coelho Law Fellowship Program does not require "proof" of disability. We acknowledge the challenges often associated with lack of access to medical diagnosis, mis-diagnosis, and under-diagnosis. If you identify as being part of the disability community, that is sufficient. Examples of disability include:

  • Physical disability (e.g. paraplegia, amputee, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
  • Intellectual and/or developmental disability  (e.g. intellectual disability, Autistic, Down syndrome, language and learning disabilities, cerebral palsy)
  • Psychiatric disability (e.g. depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.)
  • Sensory disability (e.g. blind, D/deaf, blind-deaf, hard of hearing, etc.)
  • Chronic illness (e.g. Alzheimer’s, cancer, Crohn’s disease, Fibromyalgia, etc.)
  • Other disabilities not listed above

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility:

The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility as a core value.  As such, we encourage applicants from a broad range of backgrounds with identities intersecting with disability including race, gender, sexual orientation, and immigration status.  Applicants from low income backgrounds and applicants who have been involved in the criminal justice system are also encouraged to apply.  Please email Katherine.Perez@lls.edu if you need an accommodation to apply. 

Directions:

  • To apply, please fill out your contact information, answer six short-answer questions, and include a Personal Statement describing the applicant’s background and commitment to advocacy.  
  • Identify two references with their contact information. 
  • References will only be contacted if your application reaches the final stage of review.
  • You may submit your application via Google Form or in a Word/PDF document via email to Katherine.Perez@lls.edu.
  • As an alternative, you may create a voice or video recording in response to the application questions (in spoken or signed language) and send your files to Katherine.Perez@lls.edu
  • Applications will be accepted up until Friday, May 6, 2022 by 11:59 pm PST. 
  • Applicants will be notified of their acceptance no later than Friday, May 13, 2022. 

Application Link:

To learn about our past fellows:

For more information, please contact Coelho Center Director, Katherine Perez, at katherine.perez@lls.edu.