About Carolina

Carolina D. Watts ("Carrie")
881 Alma Real Drive, Suite 309
Pacific Palisades, California 90272
Phone:  310-573-1430
Fax:  310-573-1425

Follow on Twitter:  twitter.com/cdwatts

Carolina Watts graduated from the University of Georgia with Bachelor's Degrees in English and Speech Communications.  She then moved to California to attend law school at Pepperdine University School of Law, where she obtained a Juris Doctor, as well as the Strauss Institute's Certificate in Dispute Resolution.

She worked for two summers at the Office of the Child Advocate for the State of Georgia, conducting extensive oversight investigations of individual cases and systemic compliance issues within the Department of Family and Children’s Services, including child protective services cases and foster care cases.  While at the OCA, Carrie also worked on research projects related to systemic issues and was involved with a statewide Child Welfare Task Force working on legislative agenda and other policy issues related to children’s rights.  During law school, Carolina was actively involved in various student organizations, including the Advocates for Public Interest Law, in which she served as Secretary and then as President, and was instrumental in getting the chapter up and running on Pepperdine's campus and in developing fundraising activities.  She also served on the staff of the Pepperdine Law Review, which published her note on the issue of the liability of social services workers in cases involving child abuse related deaths (entitled: "Indifferent [Towards] Indifference:" Post-DeShaney Accountability for Social Services Agencies When a Child is Injured or Killed Under Their Protective Watch).

Carolina participated in the Pepperdine Special Education Advocacy Clinic in law school, where she worked with parents on preparing for and attending IEP meetings for their children.  Following that experience, she pursued her passion for special education law and children's rights, joining A2Z Educational Advocates, where she remained after graduating and passing the California bar exam. 

While at A2Z, she has assisted hundreds of parents of students with disabilities in school districts throughout Southern California, working with the A2Z team of special education attorneys and advocates to represent parents throughout all stages of the process, from IEP meetings to Due Process hearings.  She has also been actively involved in research and writing for A2Z's cases at the Federal District Court and 9th Circuit levels.  Carolina is a passionate and dedicated advocate for her clients, and has a wide reputation of zealousness in her advocacy. 

Carolina is a frequent speaker on topics related to special education.  She has been a presenter at the national conference for the Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) on the subjects of Negotiation and Settlement Strategies, Independent Educational Evaluations, Methodology Disputes, Parent Participation in IEP Meetings, Section 504 Claims, and Advocacy Skills.  She has a particular interest in topics related to dealing with the "parent blame game" within the IEP process, protecting parents' procedural safeguards, and enhancing excellence in advocacy through skill-based instruction for special education advocates.  In addition to conference presentations, she has co-presented webinars for COPAA.  She also has previously co-presented a webinar for the Advocacy Institute on the topic of Methodology Disputes.  She has presented at staff trainings for Disability Rights California, the state's Protection and Advocacy, Inc office, on topics related to Settlement Negotiations and Attorneys Fees Disputes.  She has also been an invited guest speaker and panelist at Pepperdine University School of Law on various subjects related to special education law and practice.  She is a founding member of WOSEP, the Women's Organization of Special Education Professionals.

Carolina is also a very active member of COPAA, which is a national independent, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization of attorneys, advocates and parents. COPAA's primary mission is to secure high quality educational services for children with disabilities.  From 2009 through 2014, she served as the co-chair of COPAA's Membership Committee.  She was elected to the Board of Directors for COPAA in 2011.  In 2012, she was elected to the Executive Committee, and served as Secretary from 2012-2013.  For the 2013-2014 year, she served as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.  In 2014, she became COPAA's Chair.  She currently continues as a member of COPAA's Executive Committee in the capacity of Immediate Past Chair.  She also currently serves as the co-chair of the Development Committee.  She has been and/or is currently involved in many of COPAA's committees, workgroups and activities, including the Membership Committee, Conference Committee, Advocates Committee, Awards Committee, Nominations Committee, Diversity Committee, Publications Committee and Training Committee.  She is passionate about COPAA's mission and its work.