Position: Permanent Law Clerk to Judge Susan Illston, US District Court
1998-1999 DRA Fellow
What drew you to DRA? I wanted to be a history professor until my senior year of college when I was writing my thesis and, while it was interesting to me, it felt very removed from the problems of the world. I went to law school to engage with those problems more directly. I was drawn to DRA because I wanted to do civil rights work and, because the ADA had not been in effect for long, the cases DRA was bringing were novel, interesting – and important.
What were the highlights of your fellowship? Working on the Chabner v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Company case was such a rewarding experience. Non-discriminatory access to life insurance is a critical issue for people with disabilities, and the Chabner case resulted in a major victory. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that United discriminated against our client, a man with muscular dystrophy, by arbitrarily doubling his life insurance premium solely on the basis of disability and without actuarial support. Also, working closely with Sid was an incredible learning experience – he’s an inspiring and creative lawyer.
How did your fellowship impact what you went on to do? I got a lot of great litigation experience at DRA. In my first year I wrote a Ninth Circuit brief, appeared in court, and took depositions while my friends at big firms were doing document review. I got a lot of responsibility and experienced a wide breadth of litigation. As a lawyer just starting my career, my fellowship provided me with an invaluable opportunity to learn about litigation, and that training and experience was the foundation for my later work at the court.« Back to All Staff