As a law clerk at the United States Attorney’s Office, Civil Rights Division, in Portland, Oregon, I worked closely with an Assistant United States Attorney to enforce Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin. My assignments included drafting enforcement letters, conducting legal research, and composing legal memos. The PILP Stipend was a huge help in allowing me to pursue this opportunity.
In my position, I learned about the problems and obstacles people with disabilities face navigating inaccessible facilities and public areas. I was able to contribute to the rectification of violations by writing compliance letters based on complainants’ experiences at places of public accommodation. Additionally, I had the opportunity to sit in on a variety of court proceedings and observe excellent lawyering in U.S. District Court.