Adjunct Professor Laura Faer is the Director of the United States Department of Education’s San Francisco Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In this role, Ms. Faer is responsible for overseeing civil rights compliance and OCR’s enforcement program in California.
Professor Faer has focused her practice on education, children’s rights, and civil rights law.She has served as lead counsel on a number of education equity cases. Among other cases, she successfully represented four foster siblings who were unlawfully segregated from the public school setting, helped defend against a constitutional challenge to Los Angeles Unified School District’s voluntary integration program, challenged the practice of involuntarily removing and transferring students, helped ensure millions of dollars in funding was maintained for students with severe mental health disabilities, challenged solitary confinement and education deprivation conditions for juveniles in California, and also worked extensively on the statewide education reform and equity case, Williams v. State of California. In 2011, she was named a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year after she helped secure a landmark settlement in Casey A. v. Gundry, a class action alleging that youth detained at the largest complex of probation camps in the nation were denied a constitutionally adequate education.
Prior to taking her current position, Professor Faer was first the Directing Attorney of the Children’s Rights Project and then founded and directed the Statewide Education Rights Project for Public Counsel. The Statewide Education Rights Project unites litigation, legislation, policy change, direct services, and community partnerships to create a model for education reform across California. The Children’s Rights Project is Public Counsel’s largest program, which involves more than 700 volunteers who helped over 28,000 children and youth in 2010.The project facilitates adoptions of foster children, helps secure hundreds of legal guardianships, provides Guardian ad Litems for children who have been harmed while in foster care, and education and transition advocacy for low-income, foster, homeless, and delinquent youth, among other work.
Professor Faer led Public Counsel’s sponsorship of a number of groundbreaking pieces of legislation, including AB 1933, ensuring education stability rights for foster youth, and AB 420, limiting suspensions and expulsions for the catch-all category of willful defiance. In 2012, she successfully led an effort to pass seven bills aimed at improving outcomes for students of color, foster youth, and students with disabilities.She also led the creation of and co-developed the Fix School Discipline Toolkits and FixSchoolDiscipline.org website, one stop resources for addressing the school-to-prison pipeline and stopping school pushout.
As a Skadden Law Fellow, Professor Faer worked to improve education outcomes and educational quality for low-income children in some of South Los Angeles’ lowest performing schools.She ran a community-based education law clinic and successfully advocated for state legislative and regulatory changes related to California’s implementing statutes for the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act of 2004. Professor Faer clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, was consistently named a Rising Star by California Lawyer magazine since 2008, and has received other awards and recognition for championship of civil rights issues.