About Us

Mission

Special Education Legal Fund's mission is to level the playing field for families in need with children in the special education system. S.E.L.F. provides resources, knowledge, and empowerment to support families in the special education advocacy process for their children.

Special Education Legal Fund was founded by parents who have navigated the special education system for their children, for parents who need support to fully advocate for their own children in the special education system.

For any parent, advocating for a child in special education is an overwhelming experience. A special education referral often comes at a confusing and emotional time, when families are grappling with their child's academic, behavioral, and social issues. Parents who lack information and resources may agree to an educational program that is not appropriate or does not meet their child’s needs.

Special Education Legal Fund was founded to provide families in need with the support necessary to fully advocate for their child in the special education system.

Board of Directors

Christine Lai is cofounder and Executive Director of Special Education Legal Fund, Inc (S.E.L.F.). S.E.L.F. was founded in 2018 by parents for parents in need with children in the special education system who require legal assistance to secure a free and appropriate public education for their child. Christine is a longtime advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and is a past member of the Board of Directors of NEXT for Autism as well as a past board chair of Abilis, Inc. Ms. Lai is co-chair of Columbia University’s Fairfield County Alumni Relations Committee. In her previous life, Ms. Lai was Chief Financial Officer for a startup children’s personal care company, a buy-side equity research analyst at a New York and Dallas-based alternative investment funds, and a research analyst in sell-side equity research. Ms. Lai graduated from Columbia College at Columbia University with a degree in History.

Ulrika Drinkall (Board Chair/Co-Founder)
Michael Delgass, Esq. (Co-Vice Chair)
Lara Damashek (Co-Vice Chair)
Craig Elkind, CFA (Treasurer)
Victoria Robinson (Secretary)
William DeHaven
Ellen Fullerton
Laurie Heiss
Adriana Ospina
Robert Russo, Esq
Beth Sugerman
Lisa Lorant