Blind man passes Texas bar exam

Robert Dittman passes exam on first attempt

SAN ANTONIO – In the Family Law Courtroom No. 411 in the Bexar County Courthouse, Robert Dittman has done something no completely blind man has ever done in this area.

He passed the bar exam on his first try, and is now officially sworn in to practice law in the county.

The Honorable James Rausch conducted the swearing of the oath to support the Constitution of the United States to Dittman, who worked as an intern in his courtroom since June.

The St. Mary's University School of Law graduate was only the second completely blind person to get a law degree there, but Dittman's friends are family say they never doubted he would get the diploma.

But even Dittman, who lost his sight due to premature birth and a wrestling accident as a teen, admits passing the bar was tough.

"I have been through many tough things, military training, legal training, sky diving, bungee jumping, water skiing ... The bar surpasses them all by leaps and bounds," Dittman said.

It's quite a statement, considering that he also pushed his way into the Coast Guard, becoming a notable addition to search and rescue efforts.

Coast Guard Captain Joe Curry helped him begin his career in the Guard, and says Dittman became well-known for his ability to work the radio better than any sighted person could, hearing low-decibel calls at crucial times.

"No, he doesn't even have a disability as far as he's concerned. He has super abilities. Super human abilities. That's what I say," said Curry.

Dittman himself is well aware of the perception issues he is facing, but he already has a slogan.

To non-believers, he says, "True justice is blind ... so why not your attorney?"

Now the sworn-in attorney is planning on gaining clients for his family law career, but also plans to represent the indigent in criminal trials as well as work on wills and estate planning.

With his 8-year-old Labrador seeing-eye dog, Snickers, at his side, he has a confidence that a successful lawyer must have.

His advice to others with physical barriers who may be doubting their future plans?

"People with disabilities, the world is going to tell you can't. So look them straight in the eye and say, 'Yes, I can,'" offered Dittman.

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