Washington Attorneys

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, Founding 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 nonprofits.  more    

Michael (Mike) Smith, Partner Michael (Mike) Smith is a Partner who joined Cedar Law in 2021.  He jumped at the chance to return to a practice dedicated to serving and supporting children, families and others in the education and school settings. Prior to his most recent two year stint working as a Senior Deputy City Attorney with the City of Oakland, CA, Mike served as in-house counsel for the Oakland Unified School District (“OUSD”) for 14 years.  He advised school district leadership and staff at all levels on contracting, open meetings law, claims, litigation, employment, public records requests, conflict of interest and other matters. more.  

Elicia Johnson, Partner Elicia joined Cedar Law in 2019. Prior to that, she spent 20 years as a corporate attorney with a focus on employment matters. She came to Cedar Law seeking to transition her career to one that serves children, students, and educators and advances civil liberties. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1999 and received her BA in Communication Studies from UCLA in 1994. She came to the United States from Iran in 1979 and currently works with the Peyvand Youth Empowerment Program, which serves Iranian and Iranian-American youth in the Greater Seattle area. more

Ryan Ford, Partner. Ryan joined Cedar Law in 2023.  Prior to joining Cedar, Ryan spent the past six years managing his own law firm providing representation to students and parents in the public school, charter school, private school, college, and university settings. He is licensed to practice law in Washington and California.  Ryan received his Juris Doctor degree from University of San Diego School of Law, where he clerked in the Education and Disability Legal Clinic. Ryan works on a wide range of education legal issues with his primary focus being on special education and disability related matters. He is particularly experienced in handling federal appeals of special education matters and prevailed in a published state appellate decision on a Washington Public Records Act matter. more.

Sara Di Vittorio, Partner Sara has served for 20 years as an attorney in Washington’s public sector including seven years as a Snohomish County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and nine years as an Assistant Attorney General handling public records requests, advice, and litigation. Sara has an extensive background in providing training on the Public Records Act, having given approximately 250 classes to government agencies and organizations throughout the state.  Sara was appointed by Governor Inslee to the Public Records Exemption Accountability Committee where she served for five years.  more.

Anne Senter, Of Counsel  Anne joined Cedar Law in January 2023 after serving as an administrative law judge at the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings for over 14 years. She handled education cases on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction caseload for 11 of those years, leading the team the last two years.   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      

Anna “Mickey” Moritz, Of Counsel  Anna has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Colorado and a law degree from the University of Washington School of Law where she graduated Order of the Coif. Aside from a passion for education law issues, she previously spent 10 years working in the area of nonprofit climate law. Anna sits on the executive committee of the Civil Rights Law Section of the WSBA. Anna is licensed in Oregon, Washington, and California. more.

Whitney Hill, Senior 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, Senior 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

Jessica Johanson-Kubin, Associate Jessica practiced municipal law in Eastern Washington before joining Cedar Law PLLC. She graduated with pro bono honors from the University of Washington School of Law, where she worked in the Innocence Project Clinic advocating for wrongfully incarcerated individuals. During law school, Jessica also interned with the U.S. Social Security Administration for two years and the Seattle Community Law Center representing homeless individuals with disabilities.  more      

Luke Hackenberg, Associate Luke graduated cum laude from the Seattle University School of Law in 2021.  He joined Cedar Law immediately out of law school after working for the firm for three years when he was a law student.  During his time in law school, he also worked for the Housing Justice Project, assisting low-income clients facing eviction.  Prior to law school, Luke earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Reed College.  more

Sydney Arizona Bay, Associate Sydney’s passion for educational justice stems from her time as a middle school science teacher in Arizona and Washington. Before joining Cedar Law PLLC, Sydney was an Assistant Attorney General in Everett, Washington practicing juvenile litigation. more