Lowell Myers, a deaf attorney who practiced in the Chicago area for years, has passed away. Myers was known for handling a case for Donald Lang, a deaf man with minimal language skills who was accused of murder. The case was later chronicled in the 1979 made-for-TV movie titled, "Dummy."
His obituary can be accessed here: Lowell J. Myers.
Chicago is home to another deaf attorney, Howard Rosenblum, who credits Myers as his inspiration to become a lawyer as well.
"Lowell Myers was a pioneer," says Howard. "He became an accountant AND a lawyer at a time when many deaf people were unable to overcome barriers to education. Mr. Myers just did not see barriers, only opportunities. Even when the Dean of John Marshall Law School told him that he could not be a lawyer because of his deafness, he did not see a barrier. Mr. Myers simply convinced the Dean to give him a chance. Not only did he graduate from law school, but he did so well that he was among the top students in the school. He did this without interpreters or any other kind of accommodation. He worked as a lawyer for many years without the benefit of the ADA or other disability rights laws. Mr. Myers just did not let such barriers stop him.
Mr. Myers also helped others see opportunities. When he came to speak about his experiences as a lawyer at an event in 1978, a twelve-year-old deaf boy saw the same opportunity that Mr. Myers saw for himself. That boy was me, and thanks to Mr. Myers, I became a lawyer 14 years later. Lowell Myers, wherever you are now, thank you for being an inspiration."
Howard works for Equip for Equality in Chicago and runs the Midwest Center for Law and the Deaf.