KEVIN MICHELE FINKELSTEIN
Kevin Michele Finkelstein is a native of Los Angeles. After graduating from high school, she received her Bachelor’s Degree from California State University Northridge, and her Masters of Arts degree from California Family Study Center both in Psychology. She also has her Marriage Family Therapist License since 1991. Kevin has been a credentialed elementary school teacher for over 30 years. She earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of West Los Angeles School of Law in Los Angeles, California, graduating Summa Cum Laude.
Following law school, she began practicing criminal appellate law for over six years with the California Appellate Project. During this time she was able to work both as an attorney and a teacher. After feeling the frustration of countless families needing assistance in regards to trying to figure out the special education system, she retired from teaching. It was at this point she changed her focus and became a special education attorney. She has provided legal representation for children with special needs by advocating for a free and appropriate public education. She has also obtained reimbursements to cover costs for private evaluations, secured non-public and residential school placements, earned compensatory education in the form of public and private tutoring, changed the placement and/or related services for children, and qualified students for 504 plans under the American Disabilities Act of 1973.
In 2015, she volunteered at the University of West Los Angeles Special Needs IEP Clinic. After two years of working with families from the South Central Regional Center, representing families at their children’s IEPs, she ultimately became an adjunct professor at the law school teaching special education law and overseeing the IEP clinic. In 2017, Ms. Finkelstein founded the Law Offices of Kevin Michele Finkelstein, dedicated to the representation of students with special needs.
Kevin is a member of the California Bar Association, COPAA (Council of Parents, Attorneys, and Advocates), and CAPCAA (California Association Parent Child Advocacy).
Victoria Carlin is a parent advocate with a diverse background. While completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree from Oregon State University, she was appointed by the court of Sherman County to advocate and assist at-risk youth entering or exiting the probation and parole system. After college, she worked for a non-profit agency helping adults with developmental disabilities find work and live independently in the community. Victoria has over 20 years of experience advocating for mental health and medical coverage from medical insurance companies. She also ran the Quality Assurance department for company that made software for scheduling hospitals and clinics.
When Victoria became the mother of an amazing boy, she was placed on a new path that took her into the world of educational advocacy. Like many parents, new to the complex world of Special Education, Victoria and her family struggled to navigate IDEA and the school system. A firm believer in the notion that knowledge is power, she dedicated countless hours studying IDEA and education code, and mastering the rules, procedures, and language of IEPs. After a lifetime spent advocating for those with disabilities, becoming a Special Education Advocate was a natural progression.
As the mother of a special needs child, Victoria understands the fragile relationship between the school and parents. She strives to keep the relationship with the IEP team positive, respectful, and collaborative, while giving the parents and the child a strong voice. Victoria is a member of COPAA and has completed the Educational Advocate SEAT program, Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy program, and multiple advanced advocate educational trainings.