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.
News & Publications
- Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo Attorney Contributes to Primer on Sharing School Health Information in California09.10.2019
- SFGATE, 05.28.2015
- San Francisco Chronicle By Elizabeth Estes May 16, 2015 Updated: May 18, 2015 6:50pm, 05.28.2015
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.
Alerts & Articles
- California Department of Public Health Mandates School Closures for Schools Located in Counties on COVID-19 Watch List07.19.2020
- An Analysis of CDE’s and OSERS’ Most Recent Guidance for Serving Students with Disabilities During COVID-19 Related Closures03.22.2020
- California's Department of Education and Health & Human Services Agency Issue “New COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools” Providing a Framework for Distance Learning - Encourage LEAs to Ensure Opportunities Are Available to Vulnerable Students03.18.2020
- New COVID-19 Legislation Impacts Timelines for Special Education Assessment Plan Development; Student Records Requests; Uniform Complaint Procedures; and English Language Proficiency Assessments03.17.2020
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."
- Evaluating Other Health Impaired Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PLI Faculty, October 8, 2014)
- Getting Needed Services for Students with OHI Under IDEA and Section 504 (PLI Faculty, October 9, 2014)
- Ensuring Educational Benefit: Division and/or Coordination of Interagency Responsibilities (Supplemental Handout Only)
- If There Were Political Will, There Would Be a Way, San Francisco Chronicle (2014)
- Special Education and Students Coffee Break Series: Parents Rights: Mother May I?(National School Boards Association, May 19, 2009)
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