Shayla Key Parker writes from DC:
A lot of disabled lawyers end up working for the government, blind
lawyers in particular. I think it's partly that federal agencies are
generally scrupulous, if slow, in meeting ADA requirements. I know a
handful of blind lawyers, and they all work for the government and
they all have the technological support they need to do their jobs.
So working for the Merit Systems Protection Board this summer is an
experiment on a lot of levels. I want to know what I feel about
practicing employment law, sure, and I want to know if my interest in
regulatory affairs extends beyond the classroom. But I'm also thinking
about my career path from a broader perspective, considering public
service from every angle, making sure I'm going to end up doing what I
want to do, not just something that's convenient.
I don't really know if mooting federal employment cases will answer
that, or going down to the D.C. Circuit to hear arguments, or any of
the other things I'm doing this summer. I am having a good time – it's
a small, busy, fun office, full of thoughtful people. I definitely
don't feel trapped in what a blind lawyer friend of mine called the
"government ghetto." I feel like I'm doing interesting work in a
Right now I'm assessing the legality of a particular hiring practice
and writing a legal memo analyzing its use in various arenas. And I'm
getting ready to write my first informal brief in an upcoming case.
It's the sort of experiential learning that will hopefully teach me as
much about where I want to be in five years as legal research and