Larisa Cummings began her legal career at Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc. (DREDF) in 1987. Ms. Cummings earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies in 1982 from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded distinction as a James B. Angell Scholar for academic excellence. In 1987 she earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in San Francisco, CA.
From 1988 to 1998, she held a position as Clients’ Rights Advocate for persons with developmental disabilities at the Regional Center of the East Bay, a resource agency that serves over 10,000 persons with developmental disabilities in Oakland, California and surrounding communities. Ms. Cummings has extensive experience representing individuals with disabilities and their families in special education and public benefits administrative appeals, as well as helping to secure privacy rights of individuals with disabilities in social service systems and community based service settings.
Ms. Cummings has regularly conducted educational seminars on legal topics pertaining to persons with disabilities to offer guidance about the complex interrelationships of civil rights and public benefits entitlement law as well as the legal parameters of capacity to make one’s own decisions. Ms. Cummings’ seminars have also addressed substitute decision-making alternatives, including limited conservatorships and special needs trusts for persons with disabilities. In 2000, Larisa M. Cummings returned to a staff attorney position at DREDF, where she now focuses on impact litigation to protect and further the civil rights of persons with disabilities.