The legal principle that says, “justice is blind” has a specific meaning for Christopher A. Wright. Wright is a lawyer who, despite losing his sight thirteen years ago, has managed to develop the ability to assist his clients through the legal gauntlet.
“I lost my sight in 2006, due to a disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. As far as I am aware, it is not hereditary or something that runs in my family. The illness is simply something which I had to adapt to,” said Mr. Wright. “Luckily, my lack of vision is the only disability I have,” he affirmed.
The fortitude of Wright has led him to excel in different aspects of his life. Even though he had to abandon his engineering studies early in his career due to the visual demands, he still managed to get a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, another in Personal Financial Planning, and a doctorate in Jurisprudence. His decision to enroll in Texas Tech University School of Law gave him the kick start he needed to see life differently, and provide him the tools for moving forward.
“I worked for the state of Texas for seven years as a counselor, assisting children with disabilities as well as their families, and I was frustrated by the red tape and restrictions presented by the policies in place. That is why I initially decided to attend law school. From this point on, my goal is to be a good advocate for those who are unable to do for themselves,” said Wright, who in the short term has become a familiar presence in Midland and Odessa, where he serves as a member of the law firm of Jeanne Morales.
“No one who meets Christopher can easily forget him,” says attorney Morales, who after knowing the story of Wright, did not hesitate to hire him to work cases in family, criminal, and bankruptcy law.
“Blindness is something that can be worked with, and he had already passed the Texas Bar exam,” Morales stated. “In the interview, when I saw how he handled himself and responded to questions, I knew he was going to be very good. He is a well-qualified lawyer,” she added.
The attorney, who measures 6’2” in height, draws the attention of judges and anyone else present in the courts. But his stature aside, beyond the use of a white mobility cane, his blindness could go unnoticed.
“Christopher is excellent in the courts, and the judges are fascinated by his ability as a blind individual,” stated Morales. “They regularly ask to speak with him at the end of the hearings to further understand how he is able to complete the duties of an attorney.”
When asked how he completed his studies in law school at Texas Tech, he stated, “I didn’t get any special treatment, other than having my exams in another format,” said Wright. “I had the same tests, the same tasks, and the professors demanded as much from me as any other student.”
After losing his sight at the age of twenty-four, adaptation has been the key to the personal and professional success and life of Christopher.
“After the detection of Retinitis Pigmentosa which kills the cells of the retina and resulted in the loss of my vision, I found the necessary strength in my family and friends; they told me that life does not end by being blind, that there are many people who cannot see and are successful,” Wright said, a living example of this ideology. “Advances in technology have helped me over time, and I would not be where I am today without these developments.” One of the biggest challenges for Wright is his “ability to be independent and mobile.” Rideshare companies, such as Lift and Uber help contribute to his mobility and independence.
“Christopher is able to conduct himself skillfully in front of a jury, settle adversarial issues with a judge or opposing counsel, apply his legal knowledge to defend his clients, and most importantly, win cases,” stated Morales. “Christopher is very capable, and with today’s software, he can utilize the computer and smart phone with impressive speed.”
“It is true that I use small tactile labels to identify the functions of the microwave, stove, and washer and dryer at home, but I also put much faith in my memory,” stated Wright. “Although some legal issues or materials can be difficult to access, technology has helped me to be more independent,” he affirms.
“I’ll just put it this way, I thought that life was very difficult when I could see, but now I understand that life is much harder when you cannot see,” the lawyer said jokingly, finding good humor in a condition that has not limited him.
Discovering the old west
After living in Wisconsin most of his life, the 36-year-old lawyer decided to settle in Texas, where he regularly travels independently or with attorney Jeanne Morales to different courts throughout Texas.
Traveling back to Midland from Fort Stockton on one of the many trips, Morales told Wright that she was slowing the vehicle due to tumbleweeds crossing their path. After she had to slow down the vehicle, she stopped and with some wandering, Christopher was able to get his hands on his “first tumbleweed.” Morales remembers Christopher stating, “I have never seen or felt a tumbleweed before,” which prompted the stop.
The scene of an adult man, stopped on the side of the road, and grasping in his hands a rolling plant, called the attention of Texas highway drivers, who did not know that this person suffered from blindness.
“That was the first time in my life that I could see, or rather feel, a tumbleweed.”
“Life is beautiful,” said Wright.
Everyday life does not bother Wright, as he receives constant and inevitable references to the fictional character Matt Murdock, blind lawyer who becomes the superhero Daredevil, Marvel character created by Stan Lee.
“I’m just here, doing my job and I’m really happy to do it,” said Wright with a smile. “I would like to have superpowers, it would be my hope to help people,” said the lawyer, who, without flying over buildings, fulfills his mission.