Direct: (858) 271-6244
Sr. Estate Planning Attorney
Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorney
Special Needs Trusts
Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California
Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, May 2009
University of California, Berkeley, California
Bachelors of Arts, Psychology, May 2005
I am originally from the San Francisco/Bay area, and I attended college at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in psychology and completing all premedical school course requirements. While I had a passion to attend medical school after Berkeley, the challenges my family and I faced raising my brother, who has autism, helped me decide to attend law school to become a special education and disability rights attorney.
After graduating from Thomas Jefferson Law School, in San Diego, I worked at a law firm in Pasadena representing students and families in special education matters. This work primarily involved representing students in lawsuits against school districts and other government entities. As many students began to age out of the school system, parents became concerned about their children’s futures. Because of this, I began to provide estate planning services to my clients. I am passionate about helping families with young children and families with children with special needs, to cover the complex issues that surround caring for those we love, especially when we are gone.
While I built many incredible memories and friendships living in Pasadena, I had always hoped to return to San Diego. Having a wonderful husband, Allan, who I met in college, we decided to make San Diego our home. I have a multi-cultural and diverse background. I am Persian and Jewish, and I attended Catholic private schools in the Bay Area before entering college. I live my life open to meeting and learning about people of all backgrounds. I am grateful to be part of an estate planning team in San Diego that prioritizes thoughtfulness, consideration and concern in creating comprehensive estate plans for each client!!
When I’m not working, I enjoy reading, hiking, learning to cook Persian/Middle Eastern food, and running with my husband, who is an ultra-marathoner. Together, we’ve completed many marathons and half-marathons. In 2016, our family grew with the birth of our daughter, Maya, and then in 2020, with the birth our son, Kilian, and then in 2021, with the addition of our goldendoodle, Berkeley. We love our family time together, and it’s been amazing exploring San Diego through the lens of our little ones! I look forward to building more memories as a family in beautiful San Diego while serving my clients well, giving them peace of mind when they complete their estate plans.
STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA
Shima Kalaei, Students with Autism Left Behind: No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act, 30 T. JEFFERSON L. REV 723 (Spring 2008).
Shima Kalaei, Special Needs Trusts: How to Provide for Your Child’s Future, WOODSMALL
LAW GROUP, PC (January 2011), available at http://www.woodsmalllawgroup.com/articles-
Shima Kalaei, Transition Planning: How to Prepare for Transitioning Out of the School District
and Into Adulthood, WOODSMALL LAW GROUP, PC (January 2011).
Shima Kalaei, Special Education and the Private School Student: Legal Protections & Options
for Securing a FAPE, WOODSMALL LAW GROUP, PC (September 2013), available at
Shima Kalaei et. al., School Advocacy, in AUTISM SPEAKS FAMILY SERVICES
ADVOCACY TOOL KIT, ed. Autism Speaks, pp. 13-25 (2013), available at
Shima Kalaei, Conservatorships and Special Needs Trusts, presented at the The Frostig Center,
Pasadena, CA (November 16, 2012).
Shima Kalaei, Conservatorships and Special Needs Trusts, presented at the Speech and
Language Developmental Center, Buena Park, CA (January 17, 2013).