Florida woman with autism defies odds, becomes first in state to practice law

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Haley Moss at her swearing-in ceremony. (Image courtesy of Haley Moss).

PARKLAND, Fla. —  A Florida woman told she’d likely never work a normal job or live on her own is making history, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Haley Moss, 24, just became the first person open about having autism to be admitted to the Florida bar. Doctors diagnosed her at the age of three.

According to the Sentinel, Moss is from Parkland, Florida and went on to graduate from  University of Miami School of Law.

“I’m very passionate about things I enjoy and I love to write,” Moss told the publication. “That’s also part of why I went to law school, and I love to be able to help others, so even with writing, I love that I’m able to express myself completely and what I can say has the ability to help someone else.”

Moss was sworn in on Jan. 11 in Miami. Zumpano Patricios law firm hired Moss before she even passed her bar exam.

“As a core value, we wanted to be the first firm to bring in an openly autistic lawyer and make the point that if you align people to their strengths then given the chance, they excel,” Joseph Zumpano, one of the firm’s founders, told the publication. “To our knowledge, Haley is the first lawyer that we know of in a substantial law firm in the state of Florida that is openly autistic. There may be others but we haven’t found them.”

Zumpano also told the Sentinel that he has a child who has autism and is mainly nonverbal. He hopes to increase diversity at his firm.

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