For Amy O’Hara, SNA President-Elect, practicing disability law is personal. She discusses with us how she became interested in this particular field of law, and how another SNA member was an influential mentor to her. Here’s more about Amy and her path into practicing special needs law:

My father had a lifelong disability and I saw the struggles he went through in life. I do not come from a family of lawyers but after graduating college, I worked as a paralegal doing medical malpractice insurance defense. The firm I worked at allowed me to help in their elder law department where I worked on some special needs matters as well. My personal and professional life all of sudden merged and I knew from then on I wanted to go to law school and focus my career on helping families with elder law and special needs planning.

Having practiced in this area now for over 20 years, special needs law continues to be important as ever and in fact the need for expert counsel has increased as more families need help navigating the resources available to them, especially in light of increasing governmental constraints.

Find a good mentor willing to guide you. Put in the time to educate yourself on special needs law–over and above what you do in the office, including volunteering, serving on a disability nonprofit board and networking.

I recently read two books I loved: Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe and Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

I was a law clerk for fellow SNA member Bruce Reinoso while in law school. Bruce was an incredible mentor to me.

Walking to the local farmer’s market to get fresh bread to eat for breakfast! I also love being outside, whether it is going for a hike with my dog, trying to improve my golf game, or dining al fresco and enjoying a good glass of wine with my family and friends.