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National Council on Disability Announces Executive Director (Interim)

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1, 2010

WASHINGTON—The National Council on Disability (NCD) today announced the appointment of Joan M. Durocher as Executive Director. Ms. Durocher will serve in this position as an interim placement through September 11, 2010, or until a permanent Executive Director is appointed. NCD is an independent federal agency making recommendations to the President and Congress to enhance the quality of life for all Americans with disabilities and their families.

Ms. Durocher brings to the NCD Executive Director position an excellent array of technical and personal skills. She has served NCD for over eight years, the last several years in the position of Senior Attorney Advisor. In that position she has had responsibility for a wide-ranging set of accomplishments, most notably in her efforts toward advancing the international rights of people with disabilities. She has managed NCD work products on this topic including Foreign Policy and Disability: Legislative Strategies and Civil Rights Protections to Ensure Inclusion of People with Disabilities, as well as Finding the Gaps: A Comparative Analysis of Disability Laws in the United States to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

She was instrumental in the development of several NCD briefs and updates for each of the United Nations Ad hoc Committee meetings that took place prior to the adoption of the CRPD. During its existence, she served as NCD’s Designated Federal Official for International Watch, an NCD Federal Advisory Committee tasked with advising on the development of policy proposals supporting a foreign policy that is consistent with the values and goals of the ADA. Last year, Ms. Durocher assisted Vietnam with their draft national disability law, and she is currently overseeing the development of NCD’s study Towards the Full Inclusion of People with Disabilities: Examining the Accessibility of Overseas Facilities and Programs Funded by the United States. She represents NCD on the United States International Council on Disabilities.

Ms. Durocher has also served the American Bar Association (ABA) in several different capacities. The President of the ABA appointed Ms. Durocher to be a Commissioner on the ABA’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law from 2002 – 2005, and she was reappointed for a second term in 2008. She has also served as Vice-chair of the ABA’s Section of Business Law Diversity Committee. In this capacity, she designed the Business Law Diplomat Program which was developed to demonstrate the Section’s commitment to lawyers with disabilities and promote opportunities for their advancement within the ABA and the legal profession. She currently chairs the Subcommittee on Lawyers with Disabilities, and is on the editorial board of Business Law Today, a publication of the ABA. Most recently, the President of the ABA appointed her to the Presidential Commission on Diversity, to share success strategies on lawyers challenging the glass ceiling.

Ms. Durocher has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and received her law degree from the University of Maryland, where she was awarded an Asper Fellowship and received the BARC Community Service and Leadership Award for her work at the Maryland Disability Law Center in Baltimore. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and lives in Vienna, Virginia.

In making this announcement, Linda Wetters, NCD Chairperson notes, “Joan Durocher brings to this assignment a demonstrated commitment to the mission of NCD and extremely high level skills of communication and collaboration — both of which are essential for NCD at this time. The Council looks forward to working closely with Joan and other NCD staff as we move forward.”

Ms. Durocher may be reached at 202-272-2004 or

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