Richard Bernstein, 37

Richard BernsteinRichard Bernstein is a tireless advocate for disabled rights and providing a voice to those who would otherwise be forced to be silent. 

Blind since birth, Richard is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University School of Law. He is an attorney with The Sam Bernstein Law Firm in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
 
Richard is committed to taking action to help clients who need him. He successfully partnered with the United States Department of Justice to force the City of Detroit to fix broken wheelchair lifts on its buses. In a landmark settlement against Delta Airlines and Detroit Metro Airport, Richard gained accessibility for disabled fliers and set the precedent for airlines and airports to be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. He fought the State of Michigan and won to preserve special education funding throughout the state. 
 
Further, Richard represented the Paralyzed Veterans of America in an action against the University of Michigan's plans for disabled seating in Michigan Stadium with the United States Department of Justice and represented disabled residents who sued the Oakland County (Michigan) Road Commission after "roundabout" traffic circles were built without disabled access. Richard's latest casework includes a federal suit against the American Bar Association to put an end to its discriminatory practices toward blind students via requirement of the Law School Admissions Test, which requires individuals to draw diagrams to pass.
 
Richard teaches a political science course in social activism at the University of Michigan and served an eight-year term on the Board of Governors at Wayne State University in Michigan, elected by voters statewide, serving as Chair from 2009-2010.
 
Honors Richard has received include "Michiganian of the Year" by the Detroit News and recognition on worldwide television by CNN as a leader in keeping government honest. He is the recipient of the 2008 John W. Cummiskey Pro Bono Award from the State Bar of Michigan and was selected by The Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan as the 2003 – 2004 Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer Award recipient for outstanding commitment to public service. Richard also was named a 2009 Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and received the Tony Fillipis Award in 2010.
 
In his spare time, Richard is an avid runner, completing 15 marathons, including seven New York City marathons, the Ironman triathlon in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in 2008 and the Israman triathlon in Eilat, Israel in 2011. He also co-hosts a one-hour legal radio show called "Fighting for Justice" with Pulitzer Prize winner Angelo Henderson on WCHB-AM (1200) in Metro Detroit. 

 

The information presented here was accurate as of January 2012.