It's the day Deanna Jones has been waiting for since she was a child. "It's an incredible moment for a life-dream come true," Jones said.
The 46-year-old Middlesex native has always set her sights on being a lawyer, even though she is legally blind. "It just had to do with having a big mouth. Everyone used to say, you might have a budding lawyer there because I was always making an argument and carrying on," Jones said.
To achieve her dream of becoming a lawyer, Jones actually had to take on the federal legal system. "It certainly is ironic and you would have thought that the National Conference of Bar Examiners, who had already lost several similar cases, would have known better than to put up this kind of barrier again," said Emily Joselson, Jones' lawyer.
Jones sued the National Association of Bar Examiners after it refused to let her use computer programs that assist her with taking tests to practice law in Vermont. The bar argued it would help people cheat. A federal judge sided with Jones, saying it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"She was a real inspiration to me and all of her classmates. She had a lot of challenges in law school that I think a lot of our classmates didn't even recognize because she carried on like any other student in our class," said Christy Asbee, Jones' classmate.
"I was delighted to be here today to see Deanna be sworn in -- it's a great accomplishment to Ms. Jones and I look forward to having her as a colleague in the Vermont bar," said Bridget Asay, with the Vt. Board of Bar Examiners.
Deanna Jones, a graduate of Vermont Law, said she plans to work with people with disabilities, and knows she has more to overcome. "There will be challenges because I use all sorts of technology to read materials, to listen to it -- paper documents flying around. I am going to have to trouble shoot it -- is it in a format I can deal with," she said.
A woman who passed the bar while setting a new bar for people with disabilities.
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