2019 WEJF Distinguished Service Award Recipient
Shirin Cabraal has retired from Disability Rights Wisconsin after a lifetime commitment to working in the public interest, both inside and outside the field of law. Shirin’s work has had a transformative impact for her individual clients and for countless others who have benefited from her individual representation, her systems work and litigation.
Shirin began her legal career as an instructor at the Faculty of Law, University of Sri Lanka, and came to the University of Wisconsin, Madison as a Fulbright Scholar. Her career in public interest law was launched in 1982 when she took a position as a staff attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin. At LAW, Shirin represented hundreds of low-income clients at administrative hearings and in state and federal courts in health, welfare, disability and child welfare matters, as well as taking a leadership role on policy advocacy in these areas.
As a Managing Attorney and Supervising Attorney at Disability Rights Wisconsin since 2004, Shirin represented people with disabilities with concerns relating to abuse and neglect, access to long term care for children and adults, access to health care in the community and in jails, as well as taking an active role in related policy advocacy and managing a team of attorneys and advocates.
Shirin Cabraal brings to her work a passion for justice and a fierce commitment to ensuring the rights of low-income people and people with disabilities. In her 38 plus years of public interest law, she has continued to challenge systems and society to achieve positive change in the lives of her clients and to touch thousands more through the cases and systems work she has undertaken. She is most grateful to her co-workers, private bar attorneys and clients who have mentored and taught her throughout her career.