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About Kelli

About Advance Law Office PLLC and Kelli Schmidt

I provide legal civil rights support, training, and investigation services to education institutions and employers. I also provide direct representation, limited scope representation, and legal coaching to individuals on education, employment, and family law matters. 

In my practice, I do not just focus on legal issues, although I know those well. I am interested in the human side of legal problems and I bring compassion, listening skills, and passion to my work. My goal is to understand your concerns, educate and empower you, and guide you on a clear course through times of difficulty and change.

my experience

For over 20 years, I have been actively involved as an attorney in civil rights, education, and family and youth issues.  From 2015 to early-2017, I worked for Seattle Public Schools as their Student Civil Rights Compliance Officer developing and overseeing their Office of Student Civil Rights. There I served as both the Interim Title IX Coordinator and Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying Coordinator and trained and supervised staff in those permanent positions. From 1999 to 2015, I worked for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance, such as public schools, colleges, and universities. From 1996 to 1999, I worked in the Pierce County and Seattle Offices of TeamChild, a nonprofit organization that provides civil legal services to youth involved in the juvenile justice system. I have also represented parents in dependency, divorce, domestic violence protection order, and parenting actions. My volunteer work over the years has included working with legal agencies, state and county bar associations, and Family Law CASA of King County where I was a volunteer court appointed special advocate (CASA) and trainer on education issues.

I launched my own law firm, Advance Law Office PLLC, so that I could focus on work that I am passionate about –– providing sound support and problem-solving services -- in the way I love working -- with professionalism, efficiency, compassion, and care.

I have designed my practice to give me and my clients greater flexibility for our busy lives. My clients have access to a secure, online client portal where they can access files 24/7 and direct message me.  My self-scheduling tool allows clients to schedule meetings with me at times that work for them and receive reminders via text or email. And I understand that meeting in-person during work hours can be challenging, so I have video conference capability, offer a reduced hourly rate for travel to locations outside of the Greater Seattle area, and reserve time for evening and weekend meetings. Of course, I also meet with people in-person or by phone when needed.

my credentials

I earned my Juris Doctor degree with honors from the University of Washington School of Law and served on the Washington Law Review as a Symposium and Articles Editor. While attending law school, I also earned a Graduate Certificate from the University of Washington’s Women Studies Program. (At that time, they did not offer graduate degrees in what is now known as the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies.)  I also hold Bachelor of Arts degrees in English Literature (Honors) and Women’s Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz.

In addition to many dispute resolution courses while in law school, I have subsequently completed training by both the King County and Snohomish County Dispute Resolution Centers in Mediation and Advanced Mediation, respectively.

I have decades of experience working with people with disabilities, but to ensure that I am familiar with issues and accessibility tools that are critical to people with disabilities, I have been tested and certified as a Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).

To ensure competency and respect for persons who have experienced trauma, as well as effective interviewing and representation, I have been trained in trauma-informed practices and adverse childhood experiences. I am also certified in Forensic Experiential Trauma Interviewing (FETI) within Sexual Assault Investigations.


 Admitted to the Washington State Bar Association in 1997
• U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington


● Immediate Past Chair and Past Executive Committee Trustee, Civil Rights Law Section, Washington State Bar Association
● Vice President of K-12 Institutions, NW Association of Title IX Administrators (NW ATIXA)
● Member, Labor and Employment Law Section, Washington State Bar Association
● Pro Bono Attorney, King County Bar Association’s Family Law Mentor and Project Safety Programs
● Member, Washington Women Lawyers Association
● Member, The Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle
● Member, Association of Workplace Investigators and Seattle Circle/Chapter

my personal side

I have an elementary school-age child and have called Seattle home for over 25 years. With its easy access to mountains, coast, and sea, I can't imagine living anywhere but the Pacific Northwest. When not engaged in work or community activities, I like to unplug and unwind with my family camping, sailing, seeing/hearing live music, having spontaneous dance parties, and watching movies.

I also took some time off of from lawyering to (briefly) pursue a career making and working on feature and documentary films. After earning a Certificate in Film and Video Production through the University of Washington's Professional and Continuing Education program, I attended a summer program in Venice, Italy of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation for certification in Human Rights and Film.  While I haven't worked on any films in the past few years, I remain interested in impactful stories that promote human and civil rights causes locally, nationally, and internationally.