For Legal Professionals



Over the past year, Breaking Code Silence has established strong and collaborative relationships with attorneys practicing in areas related to this industry. We support attorneys representing youth in care by compiling facility reports to support emergency motions.

Breaking Code Silence was built on survivors offering their testimony.  Survivors from various programs have submitted an affidavit to support allegations of abuse. In addition, our volunteers include researchers, clinicians, professors, and others who have offered their expertise to review records and other materials to submit expert testimony.

Breaking Code Silence volunteers include researchers, clinicians, professors and others who have offered their expertise to review records and other materials to submit expert testimony.

Paris Testifies in support of SB – 127 – A bill that offers protections for youth in congregate care facilities in Utah.



Our Legal Circle is a monthly meeting, hosted by Breaking Code Silence and our board members.  This time provides an opportunity to learn the issues, identify effective strategies, develop relationships with allies, and connect with others who are also witness the unfortunate reality that becomes known while working in this space.

Our Legal Circle meets once a month and is hosted by Breaking Code Silence members, Educational Attorney, Lenore Silverman, Esq. and leading researcher in the field of institutional abuse, Dr. Athena Kolbe.


Lenore A. Silverman is a partner in the firm’s Oakland office.  She has an extensive practice involving student matters, with an emphasis in special education, regularly assisting clients statewide with disciplinary proceedings, charter school issues, and general education law.

Lenore has particular experience in managing large special education litigation caseloads in urban districts and has successfully represented school districts in hundreds of due process hearings and mediations.

Lenore is recognized for conducting comprehensive and instructive audits of non-public school placements to ensure that students’ needs are being met and that these public agencies deliver both a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) and the objectives and services as outlined in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).

A popular speaker, Lenore presents throughout Northern California at the firm’s bi-annual Special Education Symposium.  In addition to lecturing at school districts and colleges throughout the state, Lenore has presented on myriad special education and student-related topics to national and state professional organizations such as the National School Boards Association, California Speech Language Hearing Association, California Assembly Charter Schools, and California Council of School Attorneys.  A member of the firm’s eMatters Practice Group, Lenore is a recognized leader in legal and education issues related to special education and emerging technologies.

Lenore received her Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco. She holds a master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Memphis State University and a bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Mississippi.  Lenore is a past president of the California Council of School Attorneys.


Dr. Kolbe is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Kolbe worked in public radio and lived for several years in Haiti, where she helped establish a children’s radio station. After a decade in journalism, Kolbe returned to graduate school, earning master’s degrees in Theology, Social Work, and Political Science.

She is a seasoned clinical therapist with extensive training in the treatment of complex trauma with adolescents and adults from vulnerable populations, including foster care alumni, youth and adults involved in the mental health and criminal justice systems, LGBTQ youth, and people experiencing homelessness. In 2008, Kolbe returned to graduate school at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, where she earned PhDs in Social Work and Political Science. In addition to teaching and mentoring new clinical therapists in the social work program, she conducts research in the US and abroad focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder, the mental health impacts of natural and man-made disasters, and the needs and experiences of transition aged youth.

Dr. Kolbe is the Co-PI on one of the first research studies examining survivors of institutional abuse. Dr. Kolbe has supported lawyers over the years and currently assists both the Legal Circle Project and Advocacy team.