Assistant Attorney Liaison

My name is Claudia Harris and I was born on March 5, 1990. I was raised by two of the most important people I’ve had the privilege of having in my life, my grandparents. I was raised in Fort Worth and learned to love the city through the memories that my grandfather shared with me about his adventures in the city when he was young. He spoke of times and hardships growing up during The Great Depression, which grew a love in me for all things history related. When I was a child I was determined to become an Egyptologist and travel to the Great Pyramid of Giza, discover the location of Nefertiti’s tomb, and discover many other lost treasures of the ancient Egyptian past.
When I first graduated from high school in 2009, I enrolled as a History major with a minor in Archaeology and had every intention of finding my own memories in learning of the past and becoming a museum curator. But life took a turn and changed my plans in 2011, when I was in a car accident that left me in a wheelchair. After this life changing event, my entire goals and outlook on life have changed. I had to learn to live life with a different mentality and develop a greater level of patience. Following the car accident, I had to go through months of physical rehabilitation where I learned just how strong the body is and how incredible our bodies heal the physical and mental inflictions. Although I still have a love for history and archaeology, I am now highly passionate about ensuring that those with various disabilities have the same, or easier, access to public and private places throughout the country. Although I have just began this journey, I aim to change the current ADA regulations and laws in the nation.
Since my car accident, I have rarely traveled outside of Texas until this past year. I am drawn to New York, specifically New York City, and the beauty that is the fast-paced life. My love for New York began when I was in high school. I loved reading about New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week and starred in admiration at the beautiful designs that were worn by the models. One of my favorite places to visit in New York City is to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Throughout the year the museum displays several art exhibits from different regions and time periods. The art, sculpture, and historical site recreation are just a few of the things that are on display. Every year the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts a well know gala called the MET Gala, where thousands of people attend to view the art exhibition that they put together for the gala. This July I was able to visit the theme for the Gala, Heavenly Bodies, where it featured the clothing that fashion designers have created through the decades that could be seen as having a connection or have had some inspiration from biblical history or the Christian religion. I was able to see dresses designed by Valentino, Dolce and Gabanna, Dior, and Givenchy. This trip to the museum was one on my bucket list, and definitely an experience that I will always cherish and remember.
Since I am living in a wheelchair, I never thought that I would actually be able to travel to a different state and have the same accessibility that I have at home. And whether or not I would be starred at and seem out of place in such a busy city. But it was the complete opposite as people were eager to help. While I had been afraid to travel in general, the thought of traveling on my own and visiting amazing places was terrifying. But luckily, I have chosen to conquer that fear and step out of the bubble that I had created for myself. The fear of public places has turned into a desire to make sure that people with disabilities have access to the places that they wish to travel to. I have so many cities and countries on an endless bucket list, I hope that one day I can visit all of them and tell my future grandchildren about my memories, like my grandfather did for me.
I have been attending Texas Wesleyan University since the fall of 2017 and I intend to graduate in the fall of 2018 with a BS in Paralegal Studies. I was previously attending Tarrant Country College and studied in their Paralegal Studies Associates degree program, and that is where my love for law began. Through the classes I was able to research current laws to see how they are applied to society and how we can remain safe through them, as well as what laws are outdated and need to be changed to benefit society. After I graduate from Texas Wesleyan University, I hope to attend the MA program at The University of Texas at Arlington to further my knowledge, with the intention to apply what I learn in updating the ADA regulations and laws.
This past year I have found the courage to step out of my shell and create my own adventures, instead of reading about the great ones that our ancestors before us have ventured, learned from and used the experience to change the world. Even just attending classes on a college campus has been a major step in my life. This year I am a new addition to the Brandy Austin Law team, and I have already gained so much knowledge of the legal world and plan to continue working in the legal field after I graduate. This year I have learned so much information to achieve my goals in my career and my personal life, and I have been able to experience so many situations in life that have shaped my views in the real world and the legal field, and can only hope to continue to grow throughout life’s experiences.