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 Rising Star by Washington Super Lawyers.
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.
Angela Shapow, Partner
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 Recent Graduate Award from the University of Washington School of Law. Most recently, 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.
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 is also passionate about protecting LGBTQ families. Jill does confirmatory parentage actions in lieu of adoptions for parents who qualify under the statute (i.e., married same-sex couples). Jill also provides 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.).
Catlin Gibson, Paralegal
Catlin brings two decades of experience as a paralegal from complex civil litigation and criminal law. In addition to her BS in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in Legal Administration, History, and Political Science from Norfolk State University, Catlin has an MA in Elementary Education, a paralegal degree, and private investigators certificate.
As the mother of two children who were students in Washington public schools, Catlin draws upon her personal and professional knowledge to her work at Cedar Law PLLC. Catlin is also an enthusiastic member of the Corinthian Yacht Club.
Mia Goldman, Office Manager
Mia Goldman is a former English Teacher specialized in Columbia University’s Reading and Writing Workshop. As a graduate of the great books program of St. John’s College where she studied Greek, Classical Literature, and Philosophy, she honed her ability to write critical analysis of text ranging from the The Republic of Plato to Supreme Court decisions such as Brown vs. Board of Education. While pursuing her Bachelor’s she worked as a college-level math, science and essay writing tutor. Mia continues to tutor in addition to her work on education and social justice at Cedar Law PLLC.