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Inspirational Alum Named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30

March 11, 2016

  • Haben at the U.S. Capitol.

Haben Girma BA ’10 has been named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” in law and policy.

Born in Oakland to Eritrean immigrant parents, Girma went on to earn a full four-year Barbara Hirschi Neely Scholarship from Lewis & Clark, the highest merit award offered to select first-year students. After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in sociology/anthropology, she entered Harvard Law School as its first deaf-blind student, earning her JD in 2014.  

Now a staff attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, Girma works to provide free legal representation to people with disabilities whose civil rights have been violated. Haben’s current work focuses on increasing access to technology for people with disabilities and ending what she calls their “information famine.”

Girma credits her Lewis & Clark degree and the support of the college’s academic community, particularly the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, with inspiring her to pursue her path.  

“Ultimately, we’re all social beings,” Girma said in a recent interview. “Understanding people’s stories and motivations makes me a better lawyer.”

Last year, Girma helped cement a major legal victory in National Federation of the Blind v. Scribd, which held that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to e-commerce. She was honored last summer at the White House commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA.

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