Jennifer J. Wood
Attorney at Law
Jennifer Wood is the founder of Wood Law, a law firm dedicated to the practice of family law and school law with an emphasis on special needs concerns. The mother of three sons with autism, Ms. Wood is dedicated to diligent representation for families challenged by special needs. Whether it is a school dispute, such as an IEP or a due process hearing, or a family matter, such as divorce or custody, Ms. Wood has faced these challenges both personally and professionally and can benefit families in need.
A former teacher for the Archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and Dominican University, Ms. Wood was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Kansas in 1995 and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Dominican University in 1998. In 2002, Ms. Wood was awarded the Alumni Award for Professional Achievement from Dominican University for becoming a Golden Apple Finalist in 1998 and the first secondary language arts teacher in Chicago Public Schools to earn her National Board Teaching Certification in 2001.
Due to her extensive background in education, Ms. Wood understands that special education school resources are more limited than ever before, yet the need for them has increased considerably. She has advocated for families in Chicago Public Schools, Evanston-Skokie District 65, Plainfield District 202, Naperville Districts 203 and 204, and a variety of private school settings. Ms. Wood has prevailed in previous matters including IEP disputes, placement disagreements, transportation issues, and the inclusion of assistive technology for student use in the classroom.
Additionally, Ms. Wood understands that the pressure of parenting special needs children is considerable and can affect the comprehensive functioning of families. This led to her local and national presence as a special needs advocate, as a spokesperson for the Organization for Autism Research. Her experience and advocacy also inspired her legal studies at Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she was a Smith-Amundsen Legal Writing Award finalist in 2011, a CALI Award winner for School Law in 2012, and the recipient of her Juris Doctorate in 2013. Ms. Wood became licensed to practice law in Illinois in 2013.
Ms. Wood’s education, parenting, and legal background resulted in her appointment to the Attorney General’s Select Committee on Special Education in 2012. She is also featured as a recurring, freelance writer for Chicago Parent Magazine, Chicago Special Parent Magazine, and other family publications on the west coast. In 2009, Ms. Wood became the National Recipient of “The Gold Award” by Parenting Publications of America, for her unique insight into parenting special needs children. Ms. Wood’s legal articles about post-majority support for college and for adult children with special needs have been published by the Illinois Bar Journal and the Illinois Bar Association.
In 2012, Ms. Wood was featured as an “Autism Champion” in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know, written by Dr. Alan Rosenblatt and Dr. Paul Carbone. Additionally, in 2013, Ms. Wood was the subject of several news stories due to her unique experience with special needs and family law, including CBS Radio, the Today Show online, and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Jennifer Wood understands that it is important to work with an attorney who is competent in integrated areas such as special needs, school, and family law, because a special needs diagnosis for the children involved will change the face of nearly every aspect of education and family law matters, from divorce, child support, visitation schedules, and custodial responsibilities, to school disputes, and long-term educational planning.
Working with an informed attorney means that clients facing special needs challenges will be treated with the compassion they deserve. Ms. Wood understands that there are unique considerations and inevitable complications in legal matters involving children with special needs. Jennifer Wood is knowledgeable and respectful of their unique challenges, and is committed to achieving results that will protect and sustain special families and their futures.