FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Elizabeth A. Estes

Elizabeth A. Estes

Dannis Woliver Kelley

San Francisco, CA, USA

Elizabeth A. Estes is Co-chair of Dannis Woliver Kelley's Special Education and Student Issues Practice Group, and is an attorney in DWK's San Francisco and Novato offices representing school districts throughout California. In college, she found herself the victim of a violent hostage crisis that solidified her interest in supporting education and making sure children and families receive the services they need to stay healthy and whole. Since then, Elizabeth has spent the past twenty years representing school districts and children in the areas of special education and student matters and has an unsurpassed passion for the issues that face us.

She is an expert in all aspects of special education and student services and has navigated hundreds of school districts through the intricate and extensive laws, including student discipline, inter-district transfers, open enrollment, first amendment protections, IEP processes, discrimination, cyber-bullying, technology and media literacy, student assessment, program development, and much more.

Prior to joining the firm, Elizabeth was counsel for dependent children in Los Angeles County. She has extensive litigation experience, including numerous decisions regarding special education programming and the rights of parents and children. Elizabeth is a recognized speaker at both state and national conferences and has been integral in training school personnel and attorneys statewide.

Elizabeth has published articles addressing parent rights and the rights of students in disciplinary matters, and in 2014 the SF Chronicle published an Op-Ed piece written by her, "If There Were Political Will, There Would Be a Way." She is dedicated to uniting the multitude of agencies and parties that serve our children and, to that end, has developed alternative dispute resolution processes to do so. For her, our children and their wellbeing come first.

Elizabeth graduated from Loyola Law School (J.D.) and University of California, Berkeley (B.A.). She is a member of the State Bar of California, a Board Member for the Family and Children’s Law Center of Marin, and a former Board Member of U.C. Berkeley’s Bear Backers (the fundraising arm for the University’s Athletic Department).


  • Getting Needed Services for Students with OHI Under IDEA and Section 504
  • If There Were Political Will, There Would Be a Way
  • Special Education and Students Coffee Break Series: Parents Rights: Mother May I?



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