First Practicing Lawyer with Autism in Florida
BY AMY SANNER
A young women, Haley Moss, diagnosed with autism at age 3, recently became the first practicing lawyer with autism in the state of Florida. She’s completed law school, was offered a job before even passing the bar exam, and is now working in a law firm which includes anti-terrorism and managed care law.
Her new employer, Joseph Zumpano, was immediately impressed by Moss’ intellect. However, the “cause” of autism is close to him. “I have a child who is severely autistic,” he said. “He is largely nonverbal, he will speak a few words, but he is an angel, and it’s been my honor and my wife’s honor to have him in our lives, and we raise him and we love him and we hope for a day when there’s a better future for what we would consider neurodiversity in our country.”
Moss’ advice to employers: “I would say ‘don’t put limits,’ and ‘you’re investing in what someone can do, and you need to look at what people can do as opposed to what they might not be able to do,’” Moss said. “A disability generally is not all-encompassing, it is just part of who someone is, not everything they are. Everyone is unique, everyone has strengths and weaknesses and everyone has talent.”