The Firm is proud to announce that one of our very own, Michal Nowicki, has been selected to receive the 2022 University of Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences Harold Scharper award.
The Harold Scharper award is named after the first student with a disability to enroll at the University of Illinois. The award is given each year to an alumnus who has achieved prominence in their field, positively impacted their community, and contributed to Harold Scharper’s vision of excellence. The award commemorates Mr.Scharper’s contributions to the early development of the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services, and the opportunities which now exist on the University campus for the education of persons with disabilities. It is a tribute to the example he set for others with disabilities and is given in recognition of his preference that the unselfish achievements and services of others be recognized above all other things.
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.
Outside of the Firm, Mr. Nowicki is a proud leader in the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois (NFBI), with which he has been involved for over a decade. Since November 2020, he has served as the organization’s elected treasurer: preparing its annual budget, strategically allocating grants to attract future donations, and managing tax obligations, among other responsibilities. Mr. Nowicki also co-chairs two important NFBI committees, which help blind Illinoisans live productive and independent lives, and shape official NFBI policies on a wide range of blindness issues.
We at Marashlian & Donahue are proud of Mr. Nowicki for this well-deserved achievement and the extensive work he has completed in support of disability rights.
For more information about disability law, please contact Michal Nowicki at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 714-1311.