Mr. Knauf has practiced public interest and disability rights litigation, including special education, for over 25 years. Following 14 years running his own public interest law firm, Knauf Associates, he accepted the DRLC’s offer of Director of Litigation in late 2019.
Mr. Knauf is a 1996 graduate of the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law, and began his career with two highly competitive fellowships at Bet Tzedek Legal Services of Los Angeles, and the Western Law Center for Disability Rights (now known as DRLC), where he remained for several years following his fellowship. Prior to starting his own firm, Mr. Knauf represented school- and community college districts at the education law firm Lozano Smith in special education and employment matters.
At Knauf Associates, among dozens of successful settlements and judgments, in King v. Kaplan, Inc. (Concord Law School), Mr. Knauf and his co-counsel achieved a nearly $1 million arbitration award on behalf of a deaf client who was not accommodated in an online degree program. Mr. Knauf has litigated hundreds of matters, first-chaired jury and bench trials, numerous administrative hearings, and argued four appeals in the Ninth Circuit, each of the latter resulting in successful rulings for his clients. The latest victory, C.L. v. Del Amo Hospital, resulted in a published nationwide precedent on the rights of people with disabilities to train their own service dogs.
Mr. Knauf enjoys litigating cases, mentoring students and attorneys, and always keeping a good sense of humor and a big picture perspective in all things, especially during challenging times.