[nfb-talk] Mildred Rivera-Rau featured on A B A web site

Ringlein, Ellen ERinglein at nfb.org
Thu Sep 3 00:23:10 UTC 2009

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 1:52 PM
To: Ringlein, Ellen
Subject: Mildred Rivera-Rau featured on A B A web site

The following profile of Mildred is currently posted on the American Bar
Association web site.

Lawyer Spotlight, September 2009: Mildred A. Rivera-Rau, Esq.

Blind Latina employment lawyer helps promote diversity in the federal

With the recent rise of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme
Court, Mildred A. Rivera-Rau, Esq. has a great deal of which to be
proud. Just like Justice Sotomayor, Millie is a Puerto Rican woman with
a disability who works for the federal government. There are important
differences, however, as Millie makes her impact via the federal
government as an award-winning Attorney Advisor for the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, DC.

Millie was born legally blind with 20/200 vision in both eyes. After
spending some of her high school years in Puerto Rico, she attended
Cornell University and then the University of Pennsylvania School of
Law. Shortly after taking the bar exam in 1990, she was diagnosed with a
brain disorder that severely impacts her mood without medication. For
the first two years of her career she worked in a large San Francisco
law firm practicing labor and employment law. She was then recruited by
the EEOC and worked as a Trial Attorney in Baltimore for 12 years before
being asked to serve as a Special Assistant to Former EEOC Chair Cari M.

During her career, she received awards from the EEOC for work on a class
action sexual harassment lawsuit, EEOC disability initiatives, and the
Commission's Spanish-language website, as well as an award from the
Maryland affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind for her
outstanding volunteer activities with blind youth. Millie recently
served a three-year term as a Commissioner for the ABA Commission on
Mental and Physical Disability Law.

Currently, Millie leads a team of EEO Analysts that review federal
agencies' equal employment opportunity programs for compliance and
provide technical assistance. She also analyzes statistics regarding
workforce composition with regard to gender, race, national origin, and
disability status. Basically, she and her team make sure that federal
entities have the programs and policies in place to ensure a
barrier-free workforce. At work she accommodates her disability with a
reader and ZoomText, a software program that enlarges text and serves as
an audible screen reader. She also is permitted to work from home when

Becoming an employment lawyer was not a certainty. Before her first
encounter with lawyers in a courtroom during college, Millie did not
think she could be an attorney. "After watching them litigate, I
discovered that lawyers are just regular people doing regular things. I
honestly thought 'Hey, I can do that!'" she noted, "And the same thing
applies to individuals with disabilities: we are just regular people who
are capable of doing regular things. Sometimes people have to simply get
past personal preconceived notions to appreciate the opportunities that
are out there."

When comparing her two roles at the EEOC, litigation and agency
oversight, Millie finds they each have their own unique benefits,
whether for her or the diversity movement. "Litigation was more
fulfilling for me, because I was able to see the result after the
proceedings," she stated, "but on the other hand, agency oversight has
the ability to affect more people across a broader spectrum."
Either way, Millie says she has her dream job.

Web site: http://www.abanet.org/disability/spotlight/sept09.shtml 

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