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Joseph Phillip Selbka

Education Attorney at Hoffman Estates, IL

5.0   9 reviews
Virtual consultation available
Virtual consultation available
  • State Years
    Dist. of Columbia - DC 11 years
    Illinois - IL 27 years
  • Licensed for 11 years
    State DC
    Acquired 2013
    Good Standing No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 27 years
    State IL
    Acquired 1996
    Active and Authorized to Practice Law No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Joseph

Learn Joseph’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Education
    I represent parents and students in all areas of Illinois education law and especially special education and disability discrimination disputes.

    24 years, 150 cases

  2. Business
    I represent small businesses and individuals in all types of litigation related to small businesses. I also provide corporate services to small business.

    25 years, 20 cases

  3. Litigation
    I have extensive experience in commercial litigation, real estate litigation, employment litigation, and school related matters as well as contested trusts and estates. The primary focus of my practice is litigation in the areas I concentrate in.

    28 years, 1,200 cases

  4. Employment and labor
    I represent employers and employees in all types of Illinois employment and labor disputes (except ERISA matters).

    28 years, 1,000 cases

  5. Probate
    I represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested trust and estate matters.

  6. Real estate
    I represent property owners, construction companies, and developers in all types of real estate litigation.

    24 years, 30 cases


Mr. Selbka has practiced law in both the government and the private sector since his graduation from the University of Minnesota Law School, cum laude, in 1996. His career encompasses a wide range of impressive litigation experience. Mr. Selbka began his career serving as litigation counsel for the Illinois Department of Employment Security where he defended hundreds of administrative review actions in administrative and employment law. After representing units of local government, individuals, and corporations for more than five years, he opened his own law firm on January 1, 2006, representing individuals, local governments, and corporations in numerous civil matters. Mr. Selbka also acted as a Hearing Officer for the Illinois State Board of Education (2008-2014) District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (2011-2013) where he adjudicated disputes between school districts and parents regarding the provision of special education services.

Mr. Selbka has extensive experience in Illinois and Federal courts, including the Illinois Appellate Court. He has represented clients in commercial tort litigation, declaratory judgment actions, shareholder/member disputes, partnership and joint venture issues, probate issues, collection issues, contract issues, business tort and fraud issues, landlord-tenant issues, employment issues, construction litigation, mechanics lien litigation, surety bond litigation, real estate issues and various issues related to municipalities and school administration.

Mr. Selbka also received his master’s degree in public administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs in 2001. He now serves as an adjunct lecturer, teaching a master’s level course at the College for public administration graduate students designed to teach the legal context of public management and to give government managers a working knowledge of how to understand and manage legal problems which arise in a government workplace. Also involved in his local community, Mr. Selbka is a member of the Illinois Bar Association, the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and serves on the Arlington Heights Board of Zoning Appeals.


Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, Ltd.
2300 Barrington Road, #220
Hoffman Estates, IL, 60169


5.0 / 5.0
  9 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Hao | February 15, 2018
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Professional and Reliable Education Attorney
Strongly recommended. Mr. Selbka helped me to handle an issue of academic integrity violation. I consulted him a lot about the issues of formal response writing, and Mr. Selbka gave me some very important advice from his professional viewpoint. The result was satisfying, the professor decided to withdraw his allegation against me. All in all, choosing Mr. Selka was a right decision for me, his professionality and easygoing impressed me most.
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Posted by Shelly | October 19, 2020
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Thank you!
Apologize for the late review. I had an emergency case that needs an attorney's help. Joseph took my case immediately. During the whole process, he kept very clear and prompt communication with me. I am very happy with the outcome and highly recommend him. Thank you Joseph.
Posted by Larry Pahl | December 11, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Joe handled my case professionally, and kept me abreast of proceedings. He is smart, and a good communicator.
Posted by Tina | May 9, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Fantastic Special Education Attorney !
I cannot emphasize enough how satisfied I am with Joe Selbka’s work on behalf of my children. My husband and I have three young children with medical and educational challenges. We have had difficulty with our school district regarding the kids’ physical safety and their access to their education. Three months ago, we hired Joe. I oriented him with our children’s medical problems, and gave him information from the kids’ medical providers. Many non-medical people struggle to comprehend our children’s medical problems, and how the problems affect their direct care needs. But Joe asked questions and made comments that demonstrated firm comprehension. He effectively hit the ground running, and even offered additional ideas that were very appropriate and helpful. I appreciated Joe’s patient and informative communication with me, and his reasonable response time. He explained how the process works, helped to shape my expectations, and discussed factors that may influence the school district’s decisions. He seeks what is best for the children, while operating within the confines of a system he seems to understand well. His communication with the school district is professional and pleasant, yet firm and confident. He negotiates for things the kids need in a way that is smart and effective. He does not get side-tracked by small setbacks, but keeps his focus on the bigger goals. Today, thanks to Joe, our kids are receiving in school the nursing support and educational support that they have needed for some time. Robust measures are now being taken to shrink the children’s delays; many of the measures exist only because of Joe, as I did not even know enough to ask for them. Our only regret is that we did not find Joe a year ago, as soon as we began having struggles with the school. Though it is daunting to have three children who will have special needs for years into the future, my husband and I now have a sense of relief and confidence about those future years, now that we have Joe to advise us and to represent our kids when needed.
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Posted by David | January 25, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
business litigation
Mr. Selbka worked tirelessly for 3 1/2 years to get me a settlement against a former business partner who refused to pay royalties owed. He fought in both federal and state courts, against the TEAM of lawyers hired by the opposition. It was truly an asymmetric battle, but Joe Selbka persevered and delivered me a win. Needless to say, I recommend him highly. David.P. CEC LLC
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Posted by Donna | February 23, 2016
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Thorough Atty with Integrity
I have known Joe for over 15 years and have consulted with him from time to time on various issues as a colleague. He is particularly well versed in special education issues and he has always given me a balanced opinion of whatever issue I present. He has also been extremely responsive.
Posted by Ian | February 1, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
International Expertise
Mr. Selbka has managed our family legal issues for many years now with the utmost professionalism. Specifically in my situation as an expat, his understanding of international inheritance, foreign asset and tax regimes allowed him to restructure our wills and testaments to protect our assets from tax assessments by both the US and French agencies. Additionally, he managed all aspects of the sale of our home when we moved abroad and the repatriation of our funds wtih minimal impact. Although he specialises in Education and Labor, he also has the skills to assist in domestic issues, even those that are outside the norm. It is comforting to know that Mr. Selbka has your back.
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Posted by Chuck | September 30, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Trustworthy, Honest, and Knowledgeable
I had a labor dispute with a municipality. I had no help from my union or employer as to what my options were at the time. I searched for help and after an exhaustive search, Joe was recommended to me by a former partner. Joe first met with me on a Saturday morning in his office. He took the time to listen to my problem and did the necessary research to help me navigate through the tricky world of labor law. Joe was always quick to respond to my calls, emails, or any other need I had. He gave me my options and his thoughts on the matter. Ultimately we were able to reach a positive outcome for my situation. If you are looking for a down to earth, knowledgeable, and genuine attorney to represent you in your case, Joe is your man. I could not recommend anyone better than him.
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Posted by anonymous | May 31, 2015
Illinois Special Education Attorney, Joe Selbka
We hired Attorney Joe Selbka after our daughter "Michelle" was denied special education eligibility in her school district. Joe came highly recommended from an attorney who works solely in educational due process. "Michelle" has a complicated case and Joe grasped it quickly. He represented our daughter's issues in mediation and convinced the school district's attorney and representatives to change the eligibility, write a service plan, and provide services to her. I couldn't have been more pleased with his work. I've recommended him to our private school's guidance counselor, our family's college counselor, and 2 other attorneys whose practice doesn't include special education. Thank you, Joe. We are grateful. -P & L
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AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Partner
  • Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, Ltd.
  • 2017 - Present
  • Solo Practitioner
  • Joseph P. Selbka
  • 2006 - Present
  • Impartial Hearing Officer
  • District of Columbia, Office of the State Superintendent of Education
  • 2011 - 2013
  • Impartial Due Process Hearing Officer
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • 2008 - 2014
  • Professor
  • College of Urban Planning & Public Affairs
  • 2003 - 2016
  • Associate
  • Canna and Canna, Ltd.
  • 2000 - 2005
  • Special Assistant Attorney General
  • State Of Illinois Attorney General's Office
  • 1997 - 2000
View all work experience


  • University of Illinois
  • M.P.A.
  • 2001
  • University of Minnesota Law School
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1996
  • University of Illinois
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1993


  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2014 - Present
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2006 - Present
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Member
  • 2006 - 2016

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Designation of AV-Preeminent attorney
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2017
  • Best Real Estate Litigator- Illinois
  • 2015
  • Pi Alpha Alpha Honors Fraternity
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 1999
  • Cum Laude Graduate
  • University of Minnesota
  • 1996
View all awards


  • Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Special Education Due Process Litigation
  • 2016

Speaking Engagements

  • Employment Law Subcommittee
  • Police and Firefighter disability Pension Proceedings
  • 2018
  • Business Law Subcommittee
  • Patent Ownership Issues in Closely Held Businesses
  • 2017
  • Estate Planning Council
  • Contested Trusts and Estates
  • 2014
  • CLE Podcast
  • Administrative Evidence
  • 2014
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (9)
Given (10)
Endorse Joseph
Employment and labor Attorney | Aug 30
Relationship: Friend
"I met up with Joe at our 20th reunion. Meeting with up with him again reminded me just how sharp and passionate Joe is about his interests. Joe spoke with focus and commitment about his practice areas. Above all, Joe's a great guy and would serve his clients very well."
Education Attorney | Mar 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Joe because I believe he is an honest, diligent, and intelligent attorney with nearly 20 years of experience, and he is a genuine, thoughtful person. In addition to his busy private practice, I understand Joe has recently authored a book, Special Education Due Process Litigation, and has presided over 29 due process hearings as an administrative law judge for special education legal matters. If any of my clients has an education or special education legal matter, or a contested trust/estate or commercial litigation matter, I would gladly recommend they contact Joe."
Real estate Attorney | Feb 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. My practice is focused exclusively on residential real estate transactions. I have had the opportunity, many times, to refer clients to Joe when a litigation matter has arisen. Joe has handled these matters with expertise and professionalism."
Trusts Attorney | Feb 12
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Joseph and I worked together on a highly contested trust matter. He was extremely knowledgeable, prepared, and steady in court. I would welcome a chance to work with Joseph again and definitely would recommend him to others."
Litigation Attorney | Feb 11
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"Mr. Selbka is a highly skilled attorney with numerous years of experience. I have worked with him on a number of matters and have found his analytical and legal skills to be invaluable asset."
Education Attorney | Feb 05
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"A versatile lawyer, Joe is one of the top advocates in the area of special education, ADA, and Section 504, as well as contested trusts and estates, estate planning, guardianships and real estate matters. As an administrative law judge, he presided over dozens due process hearings and hundreds of due process requests. In addition to that, he wrote the IICLE handbook, "Special Education Due Process Litigation." As a litigant, he has regularly been able to obtain private school placements for his clients' children, which is the gold standard in special ed law. I strongly recommend Joe."
Litigation Attorney | Feb 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Excellent trial lawyer with a great knowledge of ghe law."
Litigation Attorney | Jan 31
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I've known Joseph for many years and find him to be an excellent attorney. He is very considerate, with excellent analytical skills and an eye for detail."
Education Attorney | Jan 14
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse Joe Selbka as an attorney because he is honest, knowledgeable, and compassionate. If he believes that it may not be in the best interests of his client to proceed with a case, Joe will honestly provide such counsel. Joe makes it a priority to know the most recent case laws, and his ability to analyze the law and facts of a client’s case always impress me. Finally, he also cares about his clients and works diligently to represent them. Joe is a noteworthy attorney!"
View more endorsements
Estate planning
Administrative law
Commercial real estate
Divorce and separation
Real estate
Employment and labor
Criminal defense
Real estate

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Hoffman Estates Education Lawyer Joseph Phillip Selbka
Joseph Phillip Selbka
Education Attorney
Hoffman Estates, IL
Licensed for 27 years
Virtual consultation available