Stephen Tollafield

Position: Professor, Associate Director of Legal Writing and Moot Court at UC Hastings College of the Law
Past Fellows

2002-2004 Equal Justice Works/ Cotchett-Saperstein Fellow

What interested you in disability rights and DRA? My parents are teachers and my mom has multiple sclerosis, so I’ve always been interested in education and disability issues. DRA had a fellowship allowing me to focus on just that – on cases fighting for protections on No Child Left Behind tests, high school exit exams, and the MCAT, so the tests wouldn’t be barriers to success for students with disabilities.

How did your fellowship affect you? I met with students who were smart and talented but who were being denied the opportunity to express their achievements on standardized tests. The idea that one size fits all is a troubling one, especially for students with disabilities, and that insight that I gained as a fellow informs my work at UC Hastings. I encounter many students so sharp they’ve always managed to self-accommodate, but the workload in the first year of law school is much heavier than anything they’ve previously experienced. I work closely with them to help them understand their rights and responsibilities as students and professionals with disabilities.

What do you see as the importance of fellowships? The need for new public interest attorneys is as urgent as ever. While the expense of attending law school has almost quadrupled in the last decade and the number of people going to law school is dropping, the need for legal representation for low income people only continues to grow.

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