Juris Doctor (cum laude), Boston College (1985)
Bachelor of Arts (with honors), University of Michigan (1979)
Systems Change Consulting (2012-present)
Responsibilities: Principal for consulting and training firm. Provide local, statewide, and national consulting and training for individuals, non-profits, and public entities interested in making progressive systems change. Services include root cause analysis to identify nature of problem and likely systemic solutions; creating multi-pronged plans to effect systemic change to address identified problems with long lasting solutions; providing consultation and training, as well as direct support with legislative and administrative agency lobbying, legislative and regulatory drafting, systemic litigation, traditional and social media campaigns, grassroots and professional training, and educational publications for consumers and professionals, in the areas of Civil Rights, Disability Rights, General and Special Education, combating abuse and neglect of vulnerable populations, and non-profit organizational management and board development and governance.
Disability Rights Wisconsin (f/k/a Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy) (1995-2012)
Responsibilities: Managing Attorney for Schools and Civil Rights Team. Practice focused on special education law and systems change, including individual and class action litigation, legislative and administrative agency lobbying, grassroots organizing and training. Supervised clinical law students and Rice Lake office. Co-taught Law and People with Disabilities Seminar as Adjunct Professor at University of Wisconsin Law School. Accomplishments include:
- Sound fiscal and programmatic management of Schools and Civil Rights Team, including surplus funding even during periods of austerity.
- Sound fiscal and programmatic management of Protection and Advocacy for Developmental Disabilities (PADD) grant, DRW’s largest grant, including surplus funding during periods of austerity.
- Obtained numerous grants from Wisconsin Native American tribes and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council to provide special education advocacy to Native American children with disabilities. No other protection and advocacy agency in the country has ever obtained such tribal grants.
- Chosen by Executive Director to replace him as supervisor of Rice Lake office director.
- Recruited and retained highly diverse and effective staff for Madison office Schools and Civil Rights Team. Efficient and effective management of high level multi-tasking workload which included the full range of individual to complex class action litigation, lead DRW education lobbyist along with supervision and management duties.
- Highly effective media profile.
- Produced many publications including, Out of Darkness…Into the Light: New Approaches to Reducing the Use of Seclusion and Restraint with Wisconsin Children.
- Chaired the Quality Education Coalition (QEC), Wisconsin’s only coalition of parents, educators and advocates, working to improve Wisconsin’s system of special education.
- Long standing strong relationships with many public policymakers, including State Superintendent Tony Evers and many legislators.
- Secured passage of multiple pieces of legislation under Governors from both parties and legislatures with different parties in majority, including 12 year campaign to pass law to restrict the inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint on children in Wisconsin’s schools.
Law Offices of Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick (1992 – 1995)
Responsibilities: Owned and operated private practice of law with emphasis on civil rights litigation, including disability discrimination, nursing home and other institution abuse tort actions, and Medicare fraud claims. Accomplishments include:
- Successfully litigated multiple cases referred by non-profit involving abuse and neglect of individuals with mental illness in both institutional and community based settings.
- Successfully litigated fair housing case referred by non-profit on behalf of two deaf women whose landlord refused to let them have a service dog, all the way to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. This case is now taught in law schools nationwide.
State of Wisconsin, Board on Aging and Long Term Care (1991 – 1992)
Responsibilities: First Legal Counsel to the agency, which provided ombudsman services to older adults and people with disabilities in nursing homes and other long term care facilities.Accomplishments include:
- Worked with Board to have it conduct its first evaluation of the Executive Director.
- Brought successful Medicaid litigation to court on behalf of people with disabilities in need of private duty nursing to avoid prolonged institutionalization.
Center for Public Representation (1985 – 1992)
Responsibilities: Elder Law Attorney, specializing in public benefits. Supervised attorneys, non-lawyer benefit specialists and clinical law students. Accomplishments include:
- Appointed to ABA Legal Commission on the Elderly.
- Produced many publications including, Your REAL Medicare Handbook.
- Contracted with AARP to provide benefits trainings to seniors nationwide.