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Colleen Villarreal




Colleen is a founding partner of Gutierrez, Perry & Villarreal, LLP.  Colleen’s parents instilled in her the importance of education early on.  Colleen is a first-generation Filipina-American whose mother came to the United States in her late twenties seeking greater educational opportunities.  Whether it was her mother enrolling her in enrichment courses such as speed reading, Latin vocabulary, and study skills, or her father giving her daily newspaper clippings about legal cases and her first Black’s Law Dictionary in the 7th grade, Colleen credits her mother and father for her love of education.

Colleen’s first job was as a teacher’s assistant for a non-profit summer school program geared to 6th through 9th graders at Sacramento State.  She worked there every summer until law school, later returning to teach the Art of Debate.  Despite having an educational background in politics and criminal justice, as fate would have it, Colleen was connected with her co-founding partners, who gave her the life-changing opportunity to work in education law.  Colleen instantly took to special education, establishing long-standing relationships with clients over the common goal of ensuring that all eligible students receive a free appropriate public education.

Over the years, Colleen has represented a multitude of local educational agencies, supporting her clients in a broad range of student and special education issues, such as student discipline, Section 504, and the IDEA.  Colleen has participated in numerous mediations and due process matters from receipt of due process complaint through due process hearing.  Colleen views special education law as more than reactionary to due process complaints (though most often this is where her relationships with clients begin), but rather, as a proactive opportunity to turn vulnerability into defensibility, which is where her relationships with clients are maintained.  This is reflected in Colleen’s legal trainings, which are centered on legal principles through practical application.

Colleen graduated from Dominican University of California, with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and a Public Law Concentration.  A Sacramento native, Colleen returned to Sacramento to receive her Juris Doctor from McGeorge School of Law, where she was an editor on the Global Business & Development Law Journal, received her basic mediation certificate, participated on the Mock Trial team, and served as a mentor for the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.

When not with clients, you’ll often find Colleen cheering her son on at soccer, baseball, basketball or flag football games, taking her daughter to the zoo or the park, checking out new restaurants, breweries or wineries with her husband, or reading a book (for fun).

Pratice Areas

  • Special Education
  • Student