Elizabeth Wagman Tressler LLP

Wagman, Elizabeth F. Partner

Wagman, Elizabeth F. Partner

Practice Focus

With over a decade of experience, Elizabeth Wagman brings a unique perspective to the representation of local government entities, including schools, municipalities, libraries and park districts. In recent months, much of her practice has surrounded the numerous implications of COVID-19 in the public sector. With a newly established client-driven need, Elizabeth has created guidance documents pertaining to employee health & safety (including self-certification procedures) and best practices for reopening public entities to the public amidst the ever-changing IDPH, CDC and DCEO guidance.  Elizabeth also provides legal advice to her clients regarding the OMA, including the recent requirements outlined by gubernatorial proclamations and executive orders during the pandemic. Elizabeth acts as a sounding board for clients as they navigate the complexities of employment law including leave requests under FMLA and FFCRA, what constitutes a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the drafting of employment handbooks/procedures/policies. Beyond, COVID-based legal support,  Elizabeth guides clients through questions surrounding election law requirements, including the nuances of resignations/vacancies. Elizabeth is well-versed in record requirements for public bodies, including FOIA and what may be considered Personally Identifiable Information, protected or confidential material. As an attorney focusing her practice on the representation of various public bodies, she is familiar the intricacies that go into writing intergovernmental agreements and the beneficial connections they establish throughout the entire community.   

Elizabeth has served as the Director of Due Process and Mediation for Chicago Public Schools, a position covering approximately 400,000 students in over 600 schools across Chicago. In this role, Elizabeth acted as lead legal counsel for CPS and Chicagoland charter schools for all matters stemming from special education and Section 504 litigation and mediation. In her leadership role with CPS, Elizabeth led her team to act proactively to decrease litigation and increase mechanisms to support schools participating in early resolution, leading to a decrease in litigation costs and a preservation of the school community. She has extensive experience in due process hearings, administrative hearings, handling ISBE and OCR complaints and other claims arising out of IDEA and Section 504. In her current position with Tressler, Elizabeth acts as one of the lead attorneys in the School Law Group providing legal guidance on matters pertaining to student discipline, labor and employment issues, residency matters, board policies, student/employee handbooks and records/subpoenas.

Professional Background

Prior to working at CPS, Elizabeth worked for a Chicago-based boutique firm where she concentrates in Municipal and Education Law. She also clerked at several Chicago-area special education firms where she researched and wrote legal memos on subjects related to disability law, education law and family law. 

Memberships & Affiliations

Chicago Bar Association

Member of the IASB/IASC Special Education Committee

Illinois Council of School Attorneys (ICSA)

Illinois Association of School Boards

Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education

Recent Articles and Blogs

"ISBE Issues Revised COVID Protocols For Schools," Local Government Lowdown, January 13, 2022

"It’s Finally Here! What You Need To Know About Phase 5," Local Government Lowdown, June 14, 2021

"Recent IHRA Amendments Will Require Employers To Consider Revisions To Hiring Policies," Local Government Lowdown, April 5, 2021

"HB-0040: Special Education Services Beyond the 22nd Birthday," Local Government Lowdown, March 8, 2021

"EEOC Updates Conciliation Process," Local Government Lowdown, January 22, 2021

"EEOC Guidance States Employers Can Mandate The COVID Vaccine," Local Government Lowdown, December 18, 2020

"Grant Funding Available to Libraries Pursuant to the New Digital Equity Package," Local Government Lowdown, December 14, 2020

"Special Tier 3 Mitigation Measures Update for Libraries," Local Government Lowdown, December 8, 2020

"Supreme Court Issues Landmark Ruling Regarding Gay And Transgender Rights," Local Government Lowdown, June 29, 2020

"Violation of OMA Stemming from Closed Session Personnel Discussions," Local Government Lowdown, June 17, 2020


Presentations & Events


“Tips for Avoiding Claims of Harassment/Discrimination in the Workplace,” IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference, Chicago, January 25, 2024

“Navigating a Harassment/Discrimination Free Workplace,” IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference, Chicago, January 27, 2023

"Managing a Harassment Free Workplace"  IAPD/IPRA Soaring To New Heights, Chicago, January 27- 29, 2022

Moderator: "Supporting Mental Wellness in a Diverse School Community," IASB-IASA-IASBO Joint Conference, November 19-21, 2021

"Conversations about Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," Real Time with IPELRA Podcast, November 8, 2021

"Disciplining Students with Mental Health Issues in Mind," National Business Institute, October 8, 2021

"Parents and Mental Health: How Schools Must Communicate," National Business Institute, October 8, 2021

"School Legal Obligations Regarding Student Mental Health," National Business Institute, October 8, 2021

“Navigating a Harassment/Discrimination Free Workplace,” 108th Annual Conference of the Illinois Municipal League, Chicago, September 23, 2021

"Reconsidering Student Discipline and the Role of Restorative Justice," Tressler Talk, Chicago,  August 2021