Good Law | Bad Law #80 – PA Supports People with Disabilities w/ Darlene Hemerka

Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast series Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Dalene Hemerka, an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Public Interest Law Center to talk about the Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act.


The Public Interest Law Center uses high-impact legal strategies to advance the civil, social, and economic rights of communities in the Philadelphia region facing discrimination, inequality, and poverty. They use litigation, community education, advocacy, and organizing to secure their access to fundamental resources and services.


Darlene focuses on representing parents in IEP meetings, advocating for teens with disabilities in the Philadelphia School District, and teaching students and their families about secondary transition services. This area of the law is a passion for Darlene because she was born with Cerebral Palsy.


During the episode she talks about her experience transitioning from high school to college and what she has observed in many other students’ transitions. She noticed that the school system was leaving many students unprepared for life after high school. Even with students that had an IEP or Individualized Education Program in place, she noticed those students were often underprepared.  


The Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act is a new law passed in Pennsylvania that could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the country. It is an act the requires the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to work with school districts to ensure students are being properly prepared for life outside of high school.


Join Aaron Freiwald and Darlene Hemerka for this impactful episode of Good Law | Bad Law. To learn more about the Public Interest Law Center go to their website To learn more about the Life After School project that Darlene is working on visit the webpage


To learn more about The Work Experience for High School Students with Disabilities Act click here.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Darlene Hemerka