Joy Levin Welan works to advance America's ideals. A trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, she helps enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other legislation. Her cases run the gamut, from accessibility to zoning discrimination, and all work toward the same goal — delivering the American promise of opportunity for all.
Joy obtained her position through the Attorney General's Honors Program, the only route to employment at her department for entry-level attorneys. Selection for the program is based on a number of factors, including academic achievement, law review or moot court participation, internships and clerkships, and relevant extracurricular activities. It's highly competitive, yet Joy made the cut — not surprising to anyone familiar with her resume.
In 2008, Joy earned her law degree, magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was on the staff of the Georgetown Law Journal. Her undergraduate degree is in women's studies from The George Washington University. As a student, she received numerous awards for excellence and activism. She also clerked for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Joy, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, doesn't require any accommodations to perform her job on a daily basis. When travelling for work, however, a personal assistant accompanies her to help her with the activities of daily living. Typically, she travels to conduct site visits related to cases she's working on.
As a young professional, Joy hopes her success encourages youth with disabilities to set their career sights high. "There is absolutely no reason why you can't be successful," she says. "There are really great opportunities out there to do work that really matters, not just in law but in a lot of fields. So go for it!"