M&D Associate Attorney Michal Nowicki Appointed to the Board of Directors of Disability Rights Now

The Firm is proud to announce that one of our very own, Michal Nowicki, has been selected to join the Board of Directors of Disability Rights Now (DRN), a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities in the legal profession.

DRN was founded by Peter A. Lynch, Office Managing Partner of Cozen O’Connor’s San Diego, California, office. The organization seeks to “collaborate on programming, mentoring, training, internships and when tax-free donations exist provide needed stipends, scholarships and other financial incentives to people with disabilities to pursue careers in the legal field at all levels (attorney, paralegal, secretarial, staff, management, etc.) in private, public, and government settings.”

Roughly 1% of attorneys in American law firms have disabilities compared to 26% of the national population. DRN attributes this disproportionate underrepresentation to discrimination, lack of reasonable accommodations, and unequal opportunities afforded to individuals with disabilities. DRN implores lawyers and the institutions to which they belong to honor the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – law written, presumably, by lawyers – and commit to supporting legal professionals with disabilities.

Michal Nowicki joined Marashlian & Donahue in 2019. His practice focuses largely on helping clients comply with a wide range of telecommunications laws, especially disability access laws like the 21st-Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and Title IV of the ADA, which requires telecommunications relay services for consumers with hearing and speech disabilities. Even well before joining Marashlian & Donahue, Mr. Nowicki helped the National Federation of the Blind convince the FCC to deny Amazon’s petition for a permanent exemption from CVAA accessibility requirements for e-book readers. He has also worked closely with Comcast and DirecTV to ensure that both companies comply with FCC regulations requiring audio descriptions for blind and low vision customers. Finally, Mr. Nowicki recently responded to the FCC’s request for public comments on how audio description rules have been implemented, hoping that the FCC will expand the requirements to cover video-on-demand programming and television broadcasts delivered over the Internet.

In addition to his legal work, Mr. Nowicki proudly exhibits his love for disability inclusion alongside other accessibility experts through various speaking engagements. In 2020, he co-hosted a unique webinar highlighting the wide range of business opportunities arising from making digital products and services accessible to customers with disabilities, presenting alongside the Chief of the FCC Disability Rights Office and the top product designer at Poly: the maker of various communication devices. More recently, he provided a highly interactive,  in-depth overview of audio description requirements under the CVAA, ADA, and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act at the 2021 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium; shared his experiences with online conferencing platforms at an American Bar Association sponsored webinar on disability access to virtual courts; and delivered an informative presentation on the current state of U.S. video accessibility laws.

We at Marashlian & Donahue are proud of Mr. Nowicki for this achievement and everything else he has done in support of disability rights.

If you would like to find out more about Disability Rights Now or Mr. Nowicki’s work with disability law, please contact him at mjn@commlawgroup.com or (703) 714-1311.

 

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