About Veena Rao



I am a lawyer who spent over twelve years working for Michigan Protection and Advocacy System where I represented and zealously advocated for the civil and constitutional rights of people with disabilities, specifically children. I worked to advance their rights to educational and mental health treatment through litigation, trainings, negotiation, and advocacy.

In 2010, my family moved to China where we spent time in Beijing and Shanghai, as expats, before repatriating to California in 2017. Both of my children attended British International Schools during their time in China so I am familiar with the British curriculum as well as the American education system.

My Counseling Experience:

My son graduated from a British International high school in China. I assisted him in understanding the Personal Statement, supplemental essays, and helped him finalize his college list. He was a Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, graduated in May 2020, and is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Biology at The Rockefeller University in New York City.

When we repatriated to the United States, my daughter’s new high school in California had six counselors working with about 2900 students. Given that ratio, the counselors were unable to provide individualized college counseling to her or other students through the college admissions process.

To assist my daughter, I decided to learn more about the college admissions process, creating a balanced list of schools and what universities expect students to do with the essay prompts, all incredibly time-consuming activities.  She applied to public and private universities and secured merit scholarships totaling over $600,000 at seven universities. She has now graduated from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

Formal Training:

I realized that so many students did not have the benefit of what I was able to do for my children so I decided to pursue the UCLA’s College Counseling Certificate Program. I have also taken a number of college essay writing courses to help students brainstorm and draft their college admissions essays.

In addition to my private clients, I have gained valuable experience working with students from The Fulfillment Fund, ScholarMatch, Service to Schools, and Matchlighters Scholars.

I have participated in the AXS Companion Project, where I collaborated with IECA members to simplify the Common Application for students. I drafted scripts and recorded sections for this valuable resource for students. As an active member of the Southern Association of College Admission Counseling, I presented tips for seniors applying to universities using the Common Application. I also share a lot of information about the college admissions process on my social. media pages.


Let My Experience and Training Guide You Through The College Admissions Process

I have been through the admissions process with both of my children so I understand what a stressful process preparing and applying for universities can be for high school students and the families.

My goal is to use my expertise to guide your daughter/son through the college admissions process while reducing the stress on the family. It is an exciting time as you watch your child choose colleges and envision themselves starting a new life and adventure, but as they start working on their applications and essays it can become overwhelming and that is where I will come in to help manage the process and provide guidance to your child.

Ready to Help Your Child Get Started on their College Admissions Journey?

Contact Veena for a free 30 minute consultation


If you would like more information about my legal and professional background, please read further.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about me. I am providing more information about my professional life.

Event Organizer for Charity events in China   

Organized charity balls and fundraising events for various causes benefiting children with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, supporting the education of girls, and raising funds for the construction and ongoing funding of an orphanage. Contacted and obtained financial support from area businesses for auction and raffle prizes. Cooked food for sale for over 150 people for four fundraisers. Coordinated volunteers and staff at the venues to put together events for over 150 people.


Staff Attorney: Represented and zealously advocated for the civil and constitutional rights of people with disabilities, specifically children. Advanced the rights to educational and mental health treatment of children through litigation, trainings, negotiation, and strong advocacy.  Drafted legal correspondence to various bodies advocating on behalf of individual clients and/or addressing systemic issues.  Filed legal briefs in state and federal courts on behalf of clients and as amicus on important civil rights matters.  Conducted trainings to educate the community about the rights of people with disabilities. Drafted articles and advocacy materials for in-house publications, including Special Education: An Advocate’s Manual and The Exchange.

THIRD JUDICIAL CIRCUIT                                                                         Detroit, MI

Research Attorney:  Responsibilities included researching and writing legal opinions issued by Judges of the Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit, Michigan.

VEENA V. RAO, ESQ.                                                                                        Troy, MI

Private Practice involving representation of indigent criminal defendants in misdemeanor cases and representation of clients in mental health hearings.


Staff Attorney: Provided ardent representation to indigent clients in housing, consumer and disability rights cases. Work included interviewing clients, preparation of pleadings and petitions, drafting and arguing cases in state courts, negotiations with opposing counsel.

UNITED AUTO WORKERS                                                                           Detroit, MI

Legal Intern: Researched and wrote briefs and legal memoranda on major labor law issues, including employment security, NLRB questions, Title VII and First Amendment Rights.

LAWYER’S COLLECTIVE                                                                        Bombay, India

Legal Intern: Analyzed affidavits and other documents and prepared cross-examination questions for witnesses appearing before the judicial commission studying the Mumbai riots of December 1992 and January 1993.  Wrote legal articles for India’s legal magazine, The Lawyers.

NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE & EDUCATION FUND                          New York, NY

Legal Intern: Performed research and wrote memoranda on employment discrimination and criminal law and procedure issues, specifically death penalty cases. Prepared testimony for a Congressional hearing on the issue of “innocence and the death penalty.” Assisted attorneys in researching and writing a brief to the United States Supreme Court in Hicks v St. Mary’s Honor Center, et. al.


Legal Intern: Civil Rights Division: Researched and wrote memoranda regarding minority and gender-based set-aside programs, the Massachusetts and Federal Equal Pay Acts, Title VII, prisoner’s rights, First Amendment issues, and municipal liability issues.

CASA MYRNA VASQUEZ                                                                          Boston, MA

Legal Advocate: Participated in a district court pilot project by serving as a trained legal advocate to victims of abuse seeking temporary restraining orders in domestic violence cases. Interviewed and counseled abuse victims, drafted affidavits and supporting motions.


  • Leadership Skills                                 Communication Skills
  • Attention to detail                               Creativity
  • Multitasking                                         Problem solving
  • Project Management                          Organization
  • Public Speaking                                   Research
  • Analytical Skills                                   Long term planning