Karla Gilbride

Position: Cartwright-Baron Staff Attorney, Public Justice
Past Fellows

2008-2010 John W. Carson Fellow

How did you get involved in disability rights? I’ve always been committed to working for change, and while working as a community organizer, I discovered that I loved to write and get into the mechanics of issues – so law school was a natural choice. I’ve always had a personal connection to disability issues because I’ve been blind my whole life, but it wasn’t until law school that I really discovered the world of disability rights. I was following a high-profile case against Target very closely, and when I found out DRA brought it, I knew I wanted to work there.

What did you work on at DRA? I worked first on an emergency preparedness case in LA. One of the great things about DRA is that they take their role developing the skills of young lawyers very seriously; I was encouraged to go down to LA and take depositions on my own, which was terrifying – but an amazing opportunity. I also did a lot of work on a testing accommodations case against the National Conference of Bar Examiners, and we succeeded in getting screen readers for the bar exam. I was there for the whole case, including when we argued it at the 9th Circuit. It was a deeply personal case, and such an exciting experience.

How did your fellowship impact what you went on to do? I work on employment discrimination, wage and hour, consumer protection, and fair housing and lending cases. DRA confirmed my interest in litigation and gave me the tools and confidence to take on more responsibility as I’ve moved on in my career. They gave me an impact-making role right away, while giving me the support and confidence I needed. My fellowship cemented my commitment to public interest law and gave me amazing role models to look to in this incredibly important work.

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