The Center began in 1972, when secretaries at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), one of the first public interest law firms in the country, presented the male attorneys with four demands. They wanted better pay. They wanted CLASP to hire women staff attorneys. They wanted to begin a women’s rights project. And they didn’t want to serve coffee any more. These women knew, and the men of CLASP agreed, that it was time to put the law on the side of women and their families. As its first case, the women’s rights project challenged a company policy that excluded pregnancy from disability coverage, which ultimately led to the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It was to be the first of many such victories for the project, which became the independent National Women’s Law Center in 1981. To move toward its vision of a nation without barriers based on gender, the Center has worked for more than three decades to expand, defend and promote women’s rights at every stage of the legal process — when legislatures are drafting or amending bills, when the executive branch and its agencies are writing regulations to enforce statutes, and when the courts are interpreting laws. Robbin Coulon serves on the Board of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, which advocates for the equality of women in the legal profession by bringing together women’s bar associations from across the nation to effect change in gender-based processes and laws. She is the director of legal services for the Area Agency on Aging, Region One, a non-profit social service agency in Maricopa County, Arizona that coordinates, develops and delivers services to older adults, victims of late-life domestic violence, family caregivers and persons with disabilities, including those who are HIV positive. Prior to joining the Area Agency, Ms. Coulon was a managing and senior litigation attorney with the Arizona Center for Disability Law, a non-profit law firm that provides legal representation, community legal education and advocacy training to persons with physical and mental disabilities. In that capacity, she represented individuals and brought class action cases in both state and federal court involving employment, special education, public accommodations, housing and voting rights, with an emphasis on health and mental health law. Ms. Coulon is also a former trial attorney with the Office of the Arizona Attorney General, specializing in civil rights, disability, juvenile and administrative law. Ms. Coulon received her Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from Arizona State University and her Juris Doctor from the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. She served as a legal intern for the Hon. Robert J. Corcoran, Arizona Supreme Court (retired), and was introduced to her civil rights work as a law clerk with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Ms. Coulon has many notable accomplishments and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Arizona Chapter, President’s Award and the Arizona Rehabilitation Association’s Legislative Service Award. In addition to serving on the NCWBA Board, Ms. Coulon is a member of various professional and local community service organizations including the American Inns of Court, the Arizona Black Bar Association, and Mujer, Inc. She is a past president of the Arizona Women Lawyers Association and serves on the Philanthropic Services Committee of the Arizona Community Foundation, the ASU New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board and the executive boards of the AWLA Foundation and the Black Theatre Troupe.
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