Elizabeth Estes represents school districts and county offices of education throughout California. For the past twenty years she has focused her practice in the areas of special education and student matters. She brings extensive experience on legal matters including student discipline, inter-district transfers, open enrollment, First Amendment protections, IEP processes, discrimination, cyber-bullying, technology and media literacy, student assessment and achievement, program development, and much more. She has comprehensive litigation experience regarding special education programming and the rights of parents and children and has been integral in training attorneys statewide on these issues.

Based on a harrowing experience in college and a fundamental passion for education and children, Ms. Estes has dedicated her legal career to supporting schools and the children they serve. She is committed to championing education for the whole child and uniting the multiple agencies and parties that serve children to do the same. In these efforts, Ms. Estes has developed alternative dispute resolution processes and systems for families and agencies.  

Prior to joining AALRR, Estes served as the statewide chair of the Students and Special Education practice group at the law firm of Dannis Woliver Kelley (DWK). Before working at DWK, she served as counsel for dependent children in Los Angeles County.

Practice Areas

News & Publications

Events & Speaking Engagements

Ms. Estes is a recognized speaker at both state and national conferences and has been integral in training school personnel and attorneys statewide. 


Ms. Estes has published articles addressing parent rights and the rights of students in disciplinary matters. In 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle published Ms. Estes’ Op-Ed piece, "If There Were Political Will, There Would Be a Way."

Community Involvement

Community & Professional

Ms. Estes launched Breaking Barriers, a statewide interagency initiative aimed at collaboratively breaking current systemic barriers to social, emotional, and behavioral health for California's children. Her advisory committee consists of over twenty veteran experts in education, health services, probation, juvenile justice, social services, and regional centers, as well as parents and providers who have joined forces in this effort. Additionally, she is involved the following organizations:

  • Family and Children’s Law Center of Marin, Board Member
  • UC Berkeley Bear Backers, Former Board Member


J.D., Loyola Law School
B.A., University of California, Berkeley


  • 1994, California
    U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
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