Photo by Frank Miller
Laura (Lola) Handzel, J.D.
Often described as an advocate at heart,
Laura works fiercely for the causes and people in which she believes.
Alis Volat Consulting is the creation of changemaker Laura Handzel. The company reflects the culmination of years spent building her expertise in advanced
organizational management, communications, and advocacy, along with a well-exercised passion for adventure. Laura’s nontraditional legal career has taken her from coast-to-coast and much of the area in between. Her resulting skillfulness in providing a broad range of premier professional services in a variety of complex settings, along with her desire and determination to make a positive impact on the world, form the foundations of Alis Volat Consulting.
Laura has served as a changemaker for well over a decade. She has helped fashion the mission, brand, and vision of numerous cutting-edge programs and organizations with notable success. She possesses in-depth management experience, which includes a talent for process improvement and strategic planning. She has worked at the local, state, and national levels to implement sound law and policy, and she has conducted grassroots advocacy in countless at-risk communities. Laura has worked in academia, been a lobbyist, served as a nonpartisan judiciary committee staffer, and she directed a nonpartisan state law reform body. She has focused much of her career in the nonprofit and government sectors. Yet, she also has experience working closely with corporations both large and small, sometimes with millions of dollars at stake. Laura is also an accomplished lecturer, public speaker, as well as a published writer.
Laura received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arizona magnum cum laude, where she earned degrees in anthropology (applied anthropology/sustainable development) and French (teaching) with a minor in sociology (disenfranchised populations). She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School with a Certificate of Special Training in Environmental Law and Policy Analysis. Her legal expertise lies primarily in the civil realm and crosses an eclectic range of areas, including business law; employment law; constitutional law; public records; land use; aviation; animal law; and all things related to social justice. Laura is a non-attorney member of the American Bar Association. She maintains memberships in the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division, as well as the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, specifically its Animal Law Committee. Laura is a frequent volunteer for various community causes. She has served on the board of Cat Adoption Team (CAT) and the American Veterinary Medical Law Association (AVMLA). In addition, she is Executive Director of a small nonprofit called StubbyDog Project, which focuses on the human-animal bond, specifically in the context of working against breed-discriminatory law and policies targeting dogs that look like pit bulls and their people.
Laura grew up on a farm in the Midwest, to which she attributes her veganism, strong work ethic, and sometimes funny accent. She now lives in beautiful, sunny San Diego, California. She finds daily inspiration from Oregon's state motto, alis volat propriis (She flies with her own wings.), which is why she chose to incorporate it into the name of her business. As a C-licensed member of the United States Parachute Association with over 200 skydives and counting, the phrase holds special meaning for Laura. She considers jumping from perfectly good airplanes, helicopters, and especially hot air balloons to be the best therapy money can buy. An innovator not only in business, Laura trains in the skydiving sub-discipline known as "freestyle." A former dancer, Laura dubs her version of freestyle work “sky ballet.” When not thinking about how to save the world, how to best serve her clients’ needs, or playing with animals, Laura can be found choreographing sky ballet, oftentimes in her head...but sometimes in random store aisles.