Lawyer Overcomes Disability - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Lawyer Overcomes Disability

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Ben Carroll was born with spinal muscular atrophy, which means his muscles don't grow and he loses strength everyday. But he said he's determined not to let his disability hold him back.

When Carroll shows up in court many people think he's a client rather than a legal counsel, and claims many people don't know how to handle him.

"The natural reaction is to shake someone's hand. Lawyers do it all the time. I can't do that and then there's that awkward moment," said Ben Carroll, Attorney at Law.  

Carroll lost the ability to walk at age 4 and the ability write when he was 18 years old.

Despite his disability Carroll passed the State Bar in 2004, and just a few months ago Attorney Matt Rutt brought him in to help with trials.

"He should be given a chance. Bottom line. He's a good guy. He has a visual disability, but that doesn't mean he's an ineffective lawyer or an ineffective person," said Rutt.   

Carroll said there are times when he gets discouraged. Most notably when he started dating his personal assistant Nichole, but she said she doesn't see his shortcomings.

"I love helping him. I love being with him and I want to see him succeed as much as he wants to succeed," said Nichole Rushin.     

In fact the two are now engaged to be married.

When Carroll's struggles seem too much for him to handle, he said he tries to keep his eyes on what he's working for.

"It was never a matter of if I could handle being an attorney, it was a matter of when," Carroll said.