2007 Disability Policy Leadership Program (DPL)

Summer 2007

Internship Opportunity

FOUR 1L and 2L students of the Syracuse University College of Law (COL) will be selected to participate in the second annual Burton Blatt Institute’s Disability Policy Leadership Program (DPL) in Washington, DC. The eight week Leadership Program, which will be conducted from the first week of June through the last week of July offers participants a $5,000 stipend.

Program Purpose

The summer internship in Washington, DC will provide Syracuse University Law students with a highly structured opportunity to learn first hand about the public policy making process from a disability perspective and be engaged in research and writing on statutory and regulatory issues impacting persons with disabilities and their families.

The Burton Blatt Institute has as its mission to create a collaborative environment to foster public-private dialogue to advance civic, economic, and social participation of persons with disabilities in a global society.  The Burton Blatt Institute takes its name from Burton Blatt (1927-85), a pioneer in humanizing services for people with mental retardation, a staunch advocate of deinstitutionalization, and a national leader in special education.  Blatt was dean of the School of Education and Centennial Professor at SU, served as director of SU’s Division of Special Education and Rehabilitation, and founded the Center on Human Policy to promote a more open and accepting society for persons with disabilities.

Program Direction

Participation in the program will be coordinated by the BBI Washington, D.C. office and its Managing Director, Michael Morris.  Mr. Morris is a former staff member of Senator Lowell Weicker from Connecticut and legal counsel to the Senate Small Business Committee.  He has over 25 years of experience in public policy development to advance social and economic independence for individuals with disabilities.

Selected participants will work under the direct, daily supervision of Robert Silverstein, J.D., who is a nationally recognized attorney with over 30 years of experience negotiating and drafting landmark public policy relating to persons with disabilities.  Mr. Silverstein is the former staff director and chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy where he served as the behind-the-scenes architect of more than 20 bills enacted into law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Mr. Silverstein is the Director of the Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy where he continues to work closely with members of Congress, federal agency executives, and national disability organizations.

Program Structure

At the beginning of the summer, BBI/DPL program participants will attend a week-long orientation, which will include an overview of congressional procedures and the policy making process, the process for promulgating regulations, the emerging disability policy framework, and how to advocate for and negotiate public policy. After the orientation program is completed, each participant will be assigned to work with a particular Task Force of a national consortium of over 150 national disability advocacy groups. Possible Task Force assignments include education, employment, Social Security, long-term services and supports, and emergency preparedness. In addition to conducting substantive research and analysis for a Task Force, participants will attend hearings and committee mark-ups of pending legislation, observe floor debate, and meet with policymakers and/or their staff and then analyze what they observed using the frameworks presented during the orientation.

Each summer intern must keep in electronic format a daily log, submit a weekly report and a final report to Mr. Silverstein, then reviewed by BBI Chair Blanck, summarizing projects completed and lessons learned from participation in the leadership program.  In addition, it may be possible for select program participants to have the opportunity to take COL independent research credit with Professor Blanck during the fall 2006 to further their academic interests in the area of disability law and policy.

Application Process

Interested law students must submit a completed application to Dr. Peter Blanck, Ph.D, J.D., University Professor & Chair, Burton Blatt Institute, no later than November 21.  It is preferable that the application is in electronic format via email, to pblanck@syr.edu, or in alternative formats to Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University, Crouse Hinds Hall, Suite 300, 900 Crouse Ave., Syracuse, NY 13244-2130.  An application will include a resume (including current GPA), a writing sample, a brief essay (approximately 500 words) explaining interest in the Disability Policy Leadership Program and relevant experience.

Interviews of finalists will be held during December.  Final decisions will be made with Dean Arterian and announced no later than the third week of December.