AB v. DSHS (TRUEBLOOD) Legal Fellow, Full-Time and Exempt Employee, Reports to the Director of Treatment Facilities Program

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) seeks a full-time Legal Fellow to work on the AB v. DSHS (Trueblood) lawsuit. This fellowship is limited to a 24-month term, with the potential for additional employment if DRW determines that additional funding is secured or available. You can view our Employment page here to see other open positions at DRW.

DRW understands the importance and contribution of candidates with lived experience. People with disabilities, African American, Black, Indigenous, and people of color, and those from other oppressed groups and all protected classes are strongly encouraged to apply. Given the class members in Trueblood are people with significant mental illness held in jails and psychiatric hospitals, attorneys with mental health conditions who have lived experience with these systems would be especially well-suited for this fellowship.

Candidates must be dedicated to participating in DRW’s daily attempts to apply Disability Justice and race equity principles to our work. Information about Disability Justice can be found here: https://www.sinsinvalid.org/blog/10-principles-of-disability-justice. DRW is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and expects employees to participate in DEI-related work and trainings. Information about DRW and DEI can be found here: https://www.disabilityrightswa.org/diversity-equity-inclusion/.  

This position will be based in either our Seattle or Spokane office.  There is the option to work remotely at least part of each week. The fellow must reside in Washington within six weeks of starting the position.

Reasonable Accommodation Availability

DRW is committed to providing reasonable disability accommodations at all steps of the hiring process. If you are unsure about what may be considered a disability or what accommodations may work for you, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides information about potential accommodations that are searchable by disability, work-related function, and accommodation. Applicants for DRW employment seeking reasonable disability accommodations for the application and hiring processes can contact Jodi Rose, DRW’s HR & IT Manager, by calling (800) 562-2702 or by emailing info@dr-wa.org.

Job Overview

A.B. by and through Trueblood et. al. v. Washington State DSHS, No. 15–35462 (often referred to simply as Trueblood) is a federal class action lawsuit that enforces a person’s constitutional right to timely competency evaluation and restoration services in a criminal case. Class members are all people waiting in jail for court-ordered competency evaluation and restoration services. DRW is counsel for the plaintiff class and for itself as an associational plaintiff. More information about the case is available at https://www.disabilityrightswa.org/cases/trueblood/.

DRW’s Treatment Facility Program seeks an attorney fellow to work on Trueblood. Successful candidates will demonstrate they are interested in and prepared to: 1) work directly with individuals with behavioral health conditions who are involved with the criminal legal system, and 2) learn how to support impact litigation, policy work, and other systemic advocacy to enforce the civil rights of these individuals. This position will require a licensed attorney, or an individual who will soon become a licensed attorney, with the ability to: 1) conduct outreach and engage Trueblood class members, often inside jails, hospitals, and other treatment facilities; 2) assist Trueblood class members with individual legal issues; 3) meaningfully support class members to participate in systemic advocacy linked to the Trueblood case; 4) support the Trueblood diversion programs, Trueblood litigation, and other advocacy strategies; and 5) represent DRW in policy and practice bodies associated with the Trueblood lawsuit.

The ideal candidate would have lived and/or professional experience relating to DRW’s practice areas. This includes, for example, the ability to help people fight discrimination, access public benefits or long-term care services, re-enter the community from institutionalization or incarceration, resolve housing instability, and/or end abuse and neglect. The attorney for this position must have a commitment and capacity to produce high quality legal analyses and learn how to provide effective advocacy through complex civil litigation as well as informal and alternative dispute resolution. All DRW attorneys must demonstrate dedication to DRW’s values of inclusion, diversity, and equity as well as the values of individual autonomy, community integration, universal accessibility, freedom from restraint, and respectful language. DRW seeks applicants who enjoy working in a team environment and are seeking to join in our mission to “advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities.”

This job involves unsupervised contact with vulnerable adults.

Salary: $69,499 – $79,788

The position is intended for someone with 0-5 years of experience with a salary range of $69,499 – $79,788.  Please note: the DRW Board is currently considering increases to staff compensation which might increase the salary range for this position.



  • Monitors settings and programs where Trueblood class members are served
  • Conducts outreach and engagement of Trueblood class members
  • Builds relationships with Trueblood class members and their advocates
  • Supports long-term engagement of Trueblood class members in systemic advocacy and policy work
  • Investigates abuse, neglect, and rights violations
  • Collects and reviews accurate and sufficient information regarding complaint allegations, as well as relevant written policies, regulations, directives, and client records
  • Interviews witnesses and other involved parties as necessary to ascertain facts

Legal Advocacy

  • Conducts legal research and gathers relevant information
  • Helps clients define problems
  • Provides legal advice and counseling
  • Designs action plans for advocacy on behalf of clients
  • Designs advocacy plans for systemic impact on behalf of clients
  • Takes assertive action to implement action plans
  • Represents people with disabilities on issues pertaining to service requests, advocacy projects, and litigation
  • Provides appropriate follow-up once matters are resolved
  • Supports Trueblood litigation through legal research, strategy, drafting, implementation, and monitoring

Educating Policy Makers

  • Engages in policy analysis/advocacy
  • Prepares public comment or policy reports/writing
  • Represents DRW on policy and practice bodies related to Trueblood
  • Supports Trueblood class members to be directly involved in educating policy makers

Technical Assistance

  • Interviews service recipients to define problems, understand relevant information, and design action plans to provide self-advocacy support
  • Carefully researches information for the purpose of assisting a service recipient in resolving their issue
  • Provides written and oral information and appropriate referrals to service recipient

Conflict Resolution

  • Effectively utilizes conflict resolution and advocacy skills to resolve both internal and external conflicts

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

  • Contributes substantively to the pursuit of DRW’s goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Actively engages in agency and team work to practice anti-racist advocacy

Timely Paperwork and Reporting

  • Submits all required reports, timesheets, and other documentation in an accurate and timely manner       

Work Conditions

  • Works both at home and in an office environment as coordinated with supervisor and co-workers and has extensive local and statewide work-related travel.
  • Works a standard workweek consisting of 35 hours, generally between the hours of 8:30 am – 5:00pm daily (unless an alternative schedule is approved), but must be willing to work evenings, weekends, or extended hours when necessary.
  • Maintains clear background check status as required by assigned Program (e.g., maintains clear background check status for jail visits).
  • All DRW staff are required to be up to date on their vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus. “Up to date” means a person has received all CDC-recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible. Staff are required to provide proof of vaccination. DRW considers all medical and religious or sincerely held belief exemption requests.  

Workload Monitoring

  • Maintain a reasonably ambitious workload and keep their immediate supervisor informed when there is insufficient work to perform and when there is a risk that work won’t be completed on a timely basis.


Employee Commitment

All DRW employees are expected to have a commitment to the values expressed in DRW’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Philosophy Statement


It is required that a DRW Attorney have a:

Juris Doctor degree from an accredited school of law and be a member in good standing of a state bar association and a member in good standing with the Washington State Bar Association within one year of assuming the position.

Abilities Specific to the Position

A DRW Attorney will have:

  • Demonstrated ability or desire to litigate
  • Demonstrated skills in the areas of investigation, interviewing, legal research, case strategy, case review, administrative law, and advanced advocacy techniques
  • Demonstrated ability to discuss a range of current issues facing the disability community specifically issues related to the criminalization of disability
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively present information to a wide variety of audiences using a variety of media
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain ethical and organizational standards, communicate a position well, respectfully consider other positions, and treat people of different positions and backgrounds with respect and dignity
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the disability service delivery systems and disability law
  • Demonstrated ability to perform all of the responsibilities set forth in this position description
  • Demonstrated understanding of anti-racist concepts and a working knowledge of disability justice principles

General Abilities

An employee in this position is expected to have these general abilities:

  • Be an effective team member
  • Effectively communicate verbally
  • Effectively relate to people with all kinds of disabilities
  • Exercise initiative, ingenuity, and sound judgment
  • Organize and manage time
  • Set work goals and create work plan of activities
  • Take direction and coordinate work with others
  • Use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, and Internet
  • Work under pressure in a fast-paced environment
  • Work independently
  • Perform basic math functions

Desired Abilities

It is desired that an Attorney have:

  • Lived and/or professional experiences involving disability rights issues or public interest law
  • Experience working in a non-profit, public interest, or public relations setting
  • Deep roots in the disability community with knowledge and experience in the independent living and self-advocacy movements
  • Zero to five years’ experience as a practicing attorney
  • Multi-lingual ability in languages common to Washington State residents

Background Check

  • This position involves unsupervised contact with vulnerable adults.
  • DRW conducts background checks of conviction and arrest records on final candidates prior to extending offers. The hiring process will be conducted in compliance with Seattle’s Fair Chance Employment Ordinance, SMC 14.17 and Washington’s Fair Chance Act, RCW 49.94. Applicants will be provided an opportunity to explain and correct background information. A criminal background does not automatically eliminate candidates from consideration. If a criminal background exists, the nature of the offense will be considered in the context of the essential functions of the position.

About Disability Rights Washington (DRW)

DRW is a private nonprofit organization that advances the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. We are designated by the governor of Washington as the independent federally mandated protection and advocacy system for Washington State. We work to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights. Our Board of Directors, which is majority Black, Indigenous, people of color, and majority disabled, sets the priorities of our work in consultation with two advisory councils and input from the community to ensure leadership by the most impacted and “nothing about us without us.” Information about our priorities can be found here: https://www.disabilityrightswa.org/priorities/.

DRW is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. DRW encourages applications from all qualified individuals, including individuals of all races, colors, religions, genders, sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, ages, national origins, marital statuses, disabilities, and veteran status backgrounds.

For information about us, please visit:  http://www.disabilityrightswa.org/.

To Apply

Please fill out the online application below and include a cover letter and resume. You may also mail your application to: Disability Rights Washington, Attn: Jodi Rose, 315 Fifth Avenue South, Suite 850, Seattle, WA 98104

DRW is committed to promoting universal accessibility and fairness in our interview process. At least three business days before an interview, DRW will tell applicants the names, pronouns, and titles of DRW interviewers and will provide the interview questions, which will be the same for all applicants. During interviews, DRW will provide a visual description of the interviewers and turn on captions for online interviews. We also know that other efforts to make our process more accessible may be needed based on individual needs and we will provide reasonable accommodations for any portion of the application or interview process. You can request accommodations by contacting Jodi Rose, DRW’s HR & IT Manager, using the information provided above. If you are not sure if you would benefit from an accommodation, you can review the Job Accommodations Network (JAN) website, which provides many ideas about possible accommodations that have worked for others, and you are more than welcome to call Jodi to discuss ideas you have or what we have done in the past. JAN is located here: https://askjan.org/soar.cfm.  

Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will be accepted until the position is filled. The first review of applications will take place on November 3, 2023 with the hope of contacting selected applicants to schedule interviews in November and December. Applicants will only be contacted if they are selected for an interview. The interview process will include two rounds of interviews. If selected as a finalist, DRW may ask the applicant for contacts to verify previous employment. 

  • Position Title: Legal Fellow (Trueblood)
  • Company Name: Disability Rights Washington (DRW)
  • Location: Some remote, but also in-person at our Seattle or Spokane office. The fellow must reside in Washington within six weeks of starting the position.
  • Posted: October 17, 2023
  • Education and Experience required: Juris Doctorate and admission to practice in Washington within one year of starting. Document review and/or interview skills to conduct investigations, see full description for more detail.
  • Job Category: Program
  • Job Type: Full-time, Exempt, Limited term 24 months
  • Salary: $69,499 – $79,788. For purposes of illustration, a successful applicant without equivalent work experience would start at $69,499 while a successful applicant with five years of equivalent work experience would start at $79,788. Please note: the DRW Board is currently considering increases to staff compensation which might increase the salary range for this position.
  • Generous benefits including 401k contribution, medical, dental, vision care, Health and Flex Spending account options, Costco Membership, Life Insurance, Long-Term Disability, vacation, sick, holiday, parental, and other types of leave, and a 35-hour work week.

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