Our Team

Cedar Law’s experienced school law attorneys have diverse backgrounds and specializations but share a passion for equity, diversity, and education. Read more about our education attorneys below.


Lara Hruska, Founding Partner Lara founded Cedar Law based on a holistic approach to school law informed by her unique background in education, social work, and the law. She is licensed to practice law in Washington and California. Lara received her JD from the University of Washington School of Law and also holds an MSW in Child and Family Welfare Policy from Columbia University, an MSEd in Special and General Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from U.C. Berkeley. more


Chris Williams, Partner A former Washington State Assistant Attorney General and Seattle Public Schools Senior General Counsel, Chris has spent most of his career focusing on children’s rights. He has experience as a trial and appellate attorney, in-house counsel for the largest school district in the Pacific Northwest, and in advising a number of nonprofit and other corporate entities.  more



Shannon M. McMinimee, Partner
Shannon M. McMinimee has been practicing education and employment law since graduating with honors from the University of Washington School of Law in 2003. During law school, Shannon was a Managing Editor of the Washington Law Review and interned with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, and the Seattle School District. Prior to law school, she worked in social services. Shannon graduated from the University of  Washington in 2000, where she was in the Political Science Honors Department and majored in Political Science and Societies and Justice. more


Angela Shapow, Of CounselAngela Shapow Angela joined Cedar Law because of her particular interest in educational justice.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Boise State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Idaho.  Prior to practicing law Angela directed and taught at an early childhood education center she owned.  Angela served as an extern law clerk to the Honorable Larry M. Boyle of the U.S. District Court, District of Idaho and was awarded a certificate of superior service as a judicial intern. more


Michelle Mentzer, Of Counsel In 2001, Michelle C. Mentzer was appointed an administrative law judge with the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings.  She served there for almost 17 years, the last 10 of which she worked solely on education cases.  In May 2018, Ms. Mentzer retired from OAH and worked as a volunteer attorney at the ACLU of Washington through the end of 2018.  She joined Cedar Law PLLC in January 2019. more



Whitney Hill, Associate Whitney has been an advocate for education access for over a decade. She was admitted to the Washington Bar in 2018 and received her JD from Seattle University. She also has a BA from Western Oregon University in American Sign Language/English Interpreting. She has been heavily involved in the Deaf and DeafBlind community since she was a small child and she started signing at the age of four. more



Alex Hagel, Associate Alex brings years of experience working with students to his work at Cedar Law PLLC. Alex graduated from the University of Washington School of Law, where he worked in the Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic representing homeless and low-income children in the dependency system. During law school, Alex also interned with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Civil Rights Division, and with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, enforcing civil rights laws that protect students from discrimination. more



Elicia Johnson, Attorney Elicia Johnson practiced employment law at Sheppard Mullin LLP in Los Angeles for six years before transitioning to in-house counsel at a major health care company, where she worked for twelve years. She loved her time as a corporate lawyer but ultimately found that big law wasn’t for her. She now seeks to help businesses and individuals on a smaller scale, in her solo law practice on Vashon Island and with her colleagues at Cedar Law. Elicia completed her BA in Communications at UCLA and her JD at Harvard Law School. She is licensed to practice in Washington and California.


Kaitlin Young, Paralegal Kaitlin Young is Cedar Law’s paralegal, and she assists the firm’s attorneys in all areas of litigation. She has been working in the legal field since she moved to Seattle in 2012, after receiving her BA at Boston University. more

 


Nicole CullenNicole Cullen, Sr. Legal Assistant / Office Manager Nicole is a recent transplant to Washington, coming from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She runs the administrative and day-to-day operations of Cedar Law, and brings 14 years of experience working in the legal field. more