Cathy S. Holmes is a partner in AALRR’s Student Services and Disabilities Practice Group.  She represents California public school districts, county offices of education and special education local plan areas (SELPA) in multiple aspects of education law with particular emphasis on special education, student issues, and general counsel matters.

Ms. Holmes understands that the resolution of problems requires a practical understanding and application of the law, as well as the ability to build successful relationships through the process.  She takes great pride in being able to help facilitate school staff and administration engage in productive discussions with families that build trust and result in effective solutions to complex problems.  She routinely participates in IEP meetings, informal resolution meetings, and special education mediations for special education disputes. When disputes cannot be resolved informally, Ms. Holmes provides representation to clients in special education due process hearings and subsequent appeals.  Ms. Holmes also regularly advises clients in compliance matters before the California Department of Education and investigates and assists with the development of responses to discrimination complaints filed with the Office for Civil Rights.  

Ms. Holmes has developed extensive training modules designed to provide school staff and administrators with a useful understanding of applicable laws designed to assist in the resolution of disagreements before they turn into costly legal disputes.  She is a regular trainer to school personnel on the assessment of students with disabilities, development of appropriate IEPs, drafting of effective prior written notice, avoidance of discrimination claims, free speech rights, and maintenance and privacy of records.  She also provides representation, advice and counsel on general governance issues including the development of board policies and governing board rules and responsibilities.

Ms. Holmes is a frequent speaker, and has presented at California School Boards Association annual conferences, ACSA Every Child Counts Annual Symposiums, California Association of Supervisors of Child Welfare and Attendance conferences, the Safe Schools Conference, and for client-requested individualized trainings and workshops.

Practice Areas

News & Publications

Community Involvement

Community & Professional

  • Riverside County Bar Association, Member
  • Riverside County Bar Foundation, Steering Committee
  • California Council of School Attorneys, Member
  • UCLA Alumni Association, Honorary Lifetime Member


J.D., with distinction, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles


  • 1997, California
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