Ms. Janeen Steel has 21 years of advocating on behalf of students with disabilities. She uses a variety of approaches to fight for justice for students. Having a learning disability herself, which was not diagnosed until she was 27 years old, she knows the struggle those with learning disabilities must experience in order to obtain an education. While at UCLA Law School, Ms. Steel founded Learning Rights and obtained an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1999 to start fighting for the rights of students with disabilities living in poverty. In 2005, Learning Rights Law Center was launched as a non-profit legal services organization, which Janeen served as the executive director for 8 years and co-executive director for seven years until April of 2021. In that 21 years, Janeen not only oversaw the organization, but was also lead or counsel on a variety of civil rights litigation and special education administrative proceedings. She has also taught special education law at a variety of Los Angeles universities, including Loyola Law School, University of Southern California Law School, University of California Los Angeles Law School, the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, and the School of Education at Loyola Marymount. At Loyola, she taught legal ethics for school counselors and drafted curriculum for school administrators to ensure school principals were knowledgeable about special education law. She has also presented at numerous conferences as a keynote speaker and has received awards for her work.
In May of 2021, Ms. Steel joined the office of Vanaman German LLP, a boutique law firm with over 40 years of advocating for the rights of students with disabilities.
Ms. Steel earned her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law in 1999 and a B.A. from the California State University, San Francisco, in 1993.