One of the nation’s most influential disability rights lawyers, Larry Paradis, cofounder and executive director of Disability Rights Advocates, has passed away. “Larry spent his life working tirelessly so that people with disabilities would be fully included in all aspects of American life. That is his legacy, and he will be loved and admired forever for it,” said Linda Dardarian, chair of DRA’s board of directors. Paradis was 57.
As a young man, Paradis became a wheelchair user due to disability when he was a law student. He went on to graduate cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1985 and soon after became an associate with Miller, Starr and Regalia, a powerful and respected California real estate law firm. He worked his way to a position of partnership over a 10-year period.
While Paradis was still employed at the firm, the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. At the time, DREDF (Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund) was the leading disability law firm. Their director of litigation was Sid Wolinsky. “Larry offered to work pro bono for us,” says Wolinsky. “I asked if he had done much trial work, which turned out to be a silly question,” he says. “We hit it off so well, we decided to open our own practice, and that’s how Disability Rights Advocates got started.” They opened an office in Berkeley, California, and later moved to nearby Oakland.
Read the full article at New Mobility.