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Minnesota Disability Law Center

Diversity & Inclusion: Pamela Hoopes

In her 20 years as deputy director of the Minnesota Disability Law Center, Pamela Hoopes has championed the rights of disabled people.

Hoopes said her primary mission is to help people with disabilities gain access to the courts. Today, she supervises the work of 21 lawyers in Minnesota and coordinates management and planning duties for the Disability Law Center’s parent organization, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.

Anne Henry, a former Disability Law Center staff attorney, said Hoopes is well-known as a trainer on disability law. Hoopes first joined Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid as a staff attorney in 1989.

Currently, the Disability Law Center is litigating a class-action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of at least 800 people with disabilities. In Murphy et al. v. Minnesota Department of Human Services et al., the plaintiffs are challenging the state’s alleged over-reliance on corporate foster care homes for individuals with disabilities, rather than providing individualized housing and service options in the community, Hoopes said. Currently, the parties are in discovery.

Before joining Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, Hoopes was a law clerk for a federal judge in New York. Then she worked three years as a litigator at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York, which she recalls as “a fabulous training experience.”

Hoopes graduated from Oberlin College in 1978 with B.A. in French language and literature. Six years later, she earned her juris doctor degree from the New York University School of Law.

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