The Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic is a one semester course taught in partnership with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Disability Integration Project. Students have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of children and adults with disabilities in special education cases, administrative proceedings, and potential federal litigation.
The work of the Disability Integration Project is based on Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W., a case brought by attorneys at Atlanta Legal Aid. Known as the Brown v. Board of Education of disability rights, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Olmstead that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities in institutions is discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result of Olmstead, tens of thousands of people with disabilities across the country are receiving integrated services in their communities.
Olmstead is a critical topic in Georgia because the state is carrying out a 2010 Justice Department settlement based on Olmstead that is transforming services for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities. The classroom meetings will explore Olmstead implementation in Georgia, Olmstead’s evolving scope, advocacy/litigation skills, and issues arising as students advocate for their clients.
Students will average 8 hours a week of client representation and advocacy under the supervision of an Atlanta Legal Aid Society attorney. Office hours will take place at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society’s Decatur office and offsite.
The course is currently being offered only in the Fall semester for 4 credit hours. It is pass/fail. Second- and third-year students may apply. While this is a one-semester clinic offered in the Fall, interested students will have the opportunity to apply for an externship with the Disability Integration Project in the Spring semester if they would like to continue their client work.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- Administrative Court Advocacy
- Impact Litigation
- Working with the Media
- Trial and Negotiation Skills
- Special Education Advocacy
- Civil Commitment
- Medicaid home and community-based supports