We are proud of our lawyers’ outstanding legal work securing equal rights for people with disabilities throughout the country.
Larry Paradis, Co-Founder and former Executive Director of DRA, will be posthumously honored by the American Bar Association with its Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights. A giant in the field of disability rights, Paradis took on and won hundreds of cases, achieving dramatic improvements for people with disabilities seeking access to disaster preparedness planning, education, employment, healthcare, housing, transportation, and voting. Robert T. Gonzales, CDR chair, says of this year’s honoree: “I can think of no one who deserved this award more than Larry. He was a role model for every lawyer and advocate in the field of disability rights. The profession and the Nation reached new heights as result of the work he accomplished in too short a life.”
Distinguished Leadership in Hearing Accommodation Award from Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) New York City Chapter
Sid Wolinsky Founder and Director of Litigation at DRA, received the Distinguished Leadership in Hearing Accommodation Award from Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) New York City Chapter. Awardees significantly advance the cause of hearing accessibility in public places through their professional endeavors over many years. In the words of Jerry Bergman, President of HLAA New York State Association, “Sid Wolinsky’s representation for almost 50 years of people with disabilities, and his many legal victories on their behalf, mark him as a true pioneer in the cause of justice for those with special needs…Sid shows no signs of slowing down in his enthusiasm to achieve a society in which people with disabilities are afforded equal access to the fullest extent possible and in keeping with the spirit, as well as the letter, of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Christine Chuang was named one of the Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers in California for her lead role in two immensely impactful cases. She lead settlement negotiations with Alameda County resulting in the right to a secret ballot for blind and low-vision voters in the County. She was also awarded for her lead work on the case and subsequent settlement agreement with New York City, creating one of the country’s most comprehensive disaster plans, addressing issues like high rise evacuation and sheltering, for people with disabilities.
Mary-Lee Kimber Smith was named one of the Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers in California for her precedent-setting litigation and negotiations that have changed the landscape – in some cases, literally – for people with disabilities. She has been a key player in cases brought by Californians with a wide range of disabilities that have enforced civil rights in numerous life areas, including transportation, education, access to technology, and emergency preparedness.
Sid Wolinsky, Shawna Parks, and Mary-Lee Kimber Smith are recipients of the 2013 California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award for their remarkable legal achievements, which will require the City and County of L.A. to include the unique needs of people with all types of disabilities in their emergency plans. Their stellar legal work will ensure that nearly 1.3 million people with disabilities will be included in the City and County of L.A.’s emergency planning and will not suffer needlessly when the next disaster strikes.
Julia Pinover is the 2012 recipient of the Dartmouth College Class of 2002 Distinguished Service Award for her work as an attorney founding the New York office of the non-profit Disability Rights Advocates, and her service on the Civil Rights Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
Shawna Parks is named one of The Daily Journal‘s Top Women Lawyers of 2012 for her groundbreaking work in Communities Actively Living Independent and Free (CALIF) v. City of Los Angeles. In a ruling that was the first of its kind in the country, Judge Consuelo Marshall found that the City of Los Angeles had violated federal and state law by neglecting the needs of more than 800,000 Angelinos with disabilities in its emergency planning. This means that people with disabilities will now be included in the City’s emergency planning and will be safer when the next disaster strikes.
For over five decades, Sid Wolinsky has used the law as a tool for challenging discrimination and securing equal rights for people with disabilities and low-income communities. Mr. Wolinsky’s vigilance in public interest law, including his mentorship to hundreds of law students pursuing public interest careers, has been recognized by the California State Bar. He received the State Bar’s life-time achievement award – the 2011 Loren Miller Award – for his relentless commitment and success in public interest work.
Laurence W. Paradis, Executive Director & Co-Director of Litigation; Mary-Lee Kimber Smith, Staff Attorney; and Jose Allen, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, SF, have been recognized as California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year in 2011 for their stellar achievements in Californians for Disability Rights, Inc. v. California Department of Transportation. This $1.1 billion settlement is to-date the largest architectural accessibility settlement in the country for persons with disabilities. It will result in safer paths of travel for people with mobility and vision disabilities on thousands of miles of sidewalk facilities across the State of California that are owned or maintained by Caltrans.
The Daily Journal- Top 100 Leading Lawyers in California 2011
Sid Wolinsky, Director of Litigation, is named one of the Top 100 Leading Lawyers in California by The Daily Journal in 2011.