“I don’t do disability law full time, but in my pro bono work I try to assist people with disabilities,” Motl said. “In the legal field, I’m interested in making disability a bigger part of firms’ diversity and inclusion efforts. I think they’ve been doing a better job of acknowledging that disability is diversity, but there’s still a far way to go.”
Disabled workers face an unconscious bias where their supervisors and colleagues believe they cannot do the job. “It’s hard to break into many careers that are so heavily dependent on people’s perception of you,” she said.
Motl, who uses a wheelchair, focuses much of her litigation practice on patent litigation and defending clients against medical device product liability cases. The University of St. Thomas engineering graduate likes to dive into the technical details and the technology involved in these cases.
Pro bono work also enriches her life. Motl holds leadership roles in the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, where she has volunteered through the Pro Se Project to assist Social Security Disability applicants. Other Motl favorites include the Volunteer Lawyers Network and Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.
“I think pro bono offers the benefits of being able to help someone else and your legal career,” she said. “As a more junior attorney, I was able to gain so many extra skills that would have taken me a lot longer to do than if I was just working with corporate clients.”
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