Position: Attorney, Law Offices of Benjamin C. Graves
2006-2008 DRA Fellow
What drew you to DRA? I am personally drawn to and passionate about the work because I have family members with disabilities and I have had my own journey with disability. While in law school, I worked on a case about the provision of mental health care in California prisons. I was astonished at how society completely disregarded and discarded certain individuals. My first job after law school was representing individuals being kept on 14-day psychiatric holds against their will. While it was important work, many of the problems I was seeing weren’t just about individuals; they were systemic. I wanted to address those problems on a larger level through class action litigation, and I wanted to do it at a very well-respected firm, so DRA was the clear choice for me.
What were the highlights of your DRA experience? The Veterans for Common Sense case, in which DRA sought mental health care for veterans, was the best case I’ve ever worked on. My dad is a veteran of both Vietnam and the Gulf War. This case combined my passion for mental health issues with my very personal commitment to serving veterans. Sid gave me a lot of responsibility and the veterans’ families put a lot of trust in us. Working on that case and taking it to trial was an incredible experience personally and professionally.
What do you see as the importance of fellowships? Fellowships are an indispensable training ground. I experienced every aspect of litigation, from investigation all the way through trial or settlement, and working so closely with seasoned attorneys was an amazing experience. I currently have two small kids and I’m a staff attorney at the Ninth Circuit. After my tenure here and when my kids are a little older, I’m excited to go back to veteran and disability issues.« Back to All Staff