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. She has experience teaching children from pre-kindergarten through middle school in California, New York, and Louisiana, where she served as the founding special education director for two post-Katrina charter schools in New Orleans.
Prior to forming Cedar Law in 2015, Lara worked at a Seattle litigation firm representing traditional school districts around the State of Washington with day-to-day general counsel advice and provided representation in state and federal litigation and administrative proceedings. She served on the board of the Washington Council of School Attorneys from 2013-2014 and the board of the Washington Women Lawyers from 2014-2016. Lara received the 2016 UW School of Law Women Leaders Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Young Lawyer. She was named a 2017 and 2018 Rising Star by Washington Super Lawyers. Lara currently serves on the board of the Chartwell School in Monterey, CA.
You can watch her recent oral argument on behalf of a student appellant in a special education matter before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit here.
Chris Williams, Partner
Chris joined Cedar Law because of his interest in supporting children and families. He has previously served the public as a Senior Assistant General Counsel for Seattle Public Schools, an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Washington, and as counsel for numerous Seattle-area nonprofits. He earned his law degree from the University of Iowa and has a degree in Business Administration and Psychology as well.
His career to date has focused on children’s rights and nonprofit counsel. As a litigator and appellate attorney, his work has established legal precedent in four different cases. In one particularly notable case, he obtained an award of $2.5M for formerly incarcerated individuals and their families as part of a class action award.
Chris is also skilled in conducting internal investigations for schools and other entities after allegations of misconduct. He has volunteered his time in support of children, formerly incarcerated individuals, the civil rights of Muslims in America, and access to the outdoor experience for those who are new to it.
His experience as a trial attorney, in-house counsel for a school district, and as a government attorney brings a breadth of experience to bear for the clients of Cedar Law.
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. 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.
Shannon started her legal career with an international law firm, focusing on litigation and employment law. In 2006, Shannon joined the General Counsel’s Office of the Seattle School District where she handled a wide variety of legal issues, including special education, constitutional, and enrollment matters. She successfully defended the district in numerous high-profile suits, including assisting in the defense of that district’s student assignment plan before the U.S. Supreme Court. In March of 2010, Shannon joined a regional firm where she represented school districts of all sizes and served as the outside General Counsel for Camp Fire of Puget Sound. In August of 2011, Shannon became the General Counsel of the Tacoma School District, where she led the District’s Legal Services, Worker’s Compensation, Public Records, and Safety/Security departments. In Tacoma, Shannon managed all litigation, including handling cases herself, supervising staff attorneys in their representation of the TSD, and overseeing the work of over a dozen outside counsel on a variety of matters. Among other things, Shannon represented the District in Pierce County Superior Court during a 2011 teachers’ strike, where she successfully obtained an injunction and participated in the resolution of the strike through mediation conducted by the Governor. She also provided guidance to the school board and senior leadership on major initiatives, advised central and building-based administrators on an array of legal issues, drafted policies and procedures, and provided frequent trainings for district staff on topics ranging from preventing and reporting educator sexual misconduct to student speech and religious accommodation. From October of 2016 until joining Cedar Law, Shannon maintained a private practice conducting independent workplace investigations and investigations in anticipation of litigation for schools and colleges/universities. She was also hired to advise on a broad range of topics related to education, special education, human resources, accommodation, discrimination, sexual assault and harassment, risk management, safety and security, and worker’s compensation for schools, colleges/universities, and employers with staff that interact with children. In March of 2017, Shannon returned to her hometown in Eastern Washington and also worked as the Associate Superintendent for Human Resources for a 16,000-student school district. Shannon has additionally taught Constitutional Law classes at the University of Washington – Tacoma since the spring of 2017.
Shannon is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators and holds the highest level of certification available for Sexual Harassment and Civil Rights Investigators from the Association of Title IX Administrators. Shannon has received state-wide recognition as a Rising Star from Washington Law and Politics Magazine and has received national recognition for her pro bono work on behalf of unaccompanied children in detention.
Shannon is excited to bring her fifteen years of trial, school, and employment law experience to Cedar Law and is available to work with clients in both Western and Eastern Washington.
Angela Shapow, Of Counsel
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. She has capitalized on that experience by focusing her practice on all aspects of administrative and federal litigation under the IDEA and Section 504.
Angela moved from Boise to Seattle in the fall of 2007. While preparing for the Washington State bar exam she directed a childcare center in Seattle. She has also served as a Title 26 guardian ad litem representing the best interests of children. Angela is currently admitted to practice in the District Court of Idaho, The District Court of Western Washington, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Angela has presented at various venues and has lead special education clinics through out Western Washington.
Recent Presentations include: Skagit Valley Connections Conference, Serving Social and Emotional Needs in Early Childhood Settings, March 2015; Washington Parent Attorneys, Litigation Under Section 504, June 2016; Washington Autism Alliance Association, IDEA: Blueprints to Special Education Workshop September 2016; Shapow Law PLLC, Procedural Safeguards for Families under the IDEA, October 2016.
Jill Mullins, Senior Associate
Jill Mullins has been practicing law since 2009. She has been distinguished in her career, receiving the Charles Z. Smith Award for Public Service from the UW School of Law for 2008-2009, the Recent Graduate Award from the University of Washington School of Law in 2012, the Washington Super Lawyers Rising Star designation in 2014 and 2018 and in 2017, Jill was named one of Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.
Jill is committed to access to justice. Since law school, Jill has helped put on panels for the public and attorneys on issues impacting the LGBTQ community and students on issues of bullying and discrimination, typically organizing and/or presenting on multiple panels or CLEs a year for the better part of a decade. One of Jill’s nerdy passion projects is being on the Pattern Forms Committee and Domestic Relations Subcommittee. Pattern forms are available through the court’s website. These forms are used by attorneys and people who represent themselves (pro se parties). The committee and subcommittee are filled with people who diligently work to make the forms accessible. The forms are one of the most tangible access to justice tools out there as they help people understand all of the requirements involved in their action.
Jill joined Cedar Law to focus her practice on the legal issues impacting parents and students in the K-12 and collegiate setting, with a particular passion around bullying, harassment, sexual assault, due process, and racial discrimination. Jill has been working on these issues for some time, including being involved on the focus groups and later the work group regarding the 2008 Nondiscrimination law and the 2008 anti-bullying law. Prior to joining Cedar Law, Jill’s practice focused on protecting LGBTQ families and other nontraditional families. While becoming less of her practice, Jill still does does confirmatory parentage actions in lieu of adoptions for parents who qualify under the statute (i.e., married same-sex couples), basic estate planning services to help protect all different kinds of families (step-families, polyfamilies, blended families, cohabiting couples who do not wish to marry, etc.), and appeals, with a focus on family law or education law appeals.
Jinju Park, Senior Associate
Jinju joined Cedar Law to serve the citizens of Washington and Arizona by providing legal representation of the highest quality to students, families, and teachers who need help accessing the promise of equal educational opportunities for all. She likes to think outside of the box, work collaboratively with clients and schools, geek out about the law, and discover answers to questions that nobody has ever asked before.
Prior to joining Cedar Law, Jinju practiced law for 10 years in Arizona and Washington, with a focus on education and health law. In Arizona, she was an Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Education, the School for the Deaf and Blind, and the Board of Education. In Washington, she worked as a defense attorney for public schools, providing guidance and advice and engaging in civil litigation through all phases of litigation including initial case analysis, budgeting, strategy, discovery, motion practice, and final resolution. Jinju has experience in administrative hearings, civil litigation, appeals, policy-drafting, agency rule-making, and investigations. Her specific interests include: student and public health, disabilities, special education, non-discrimination, federal compliance, investigations, compliance with public records and open meeting laws, teacher certification and licensing, and complex constitutional litigation.
Jinju is admitted to practice in Arizona and Washington’s state and federal courts. She volunteers with the King County Bar Association, is a member of several professional organizations, and frequently presents at seminars including due process hearings, disabilities law, student health, student bullying, and sexual harassment.
When she isn’t busy practicing law, she likes to “make stuff” at home (like sew, draw, and cook) and to “do stuff” outside (like camp, hike, and ski).