What to Look For in a Special Education Attorney

special education attorney

There are two basic ways that a special education attorney can best assist you when trying to access the proper services that your special needs child is entitled to through the public school system. A special education attorney can advise and assist you, as needed, during the IEP development phase. Additionally, the special education attorney can act as your representative during IEP meetings.

School districts are often dealing with budget cuts which can impact the services your special needs child can access. If you feel like the school and/or school district are not responsive to your concerns, legal representation is certainly an effective and sometimes necessary strategy.

However, a special education attorney has specific expertise that can mean the difference between achieving the desired results and throwing away good money. Finding a qualified special needs attorney is the first step in securing the services vital to your child’s academic growth and advancement.

special education attorney

Begin With Referrals

The best place to locate a reputable professional will be from recommendations within your network. Talk to other parents in your community who’ve had success working with a qualified special education attorney. Obviously, you want to do your own due diligence to confirm that any referrals are currently in the same field of practice and in good standing in their profession. If a parent has successfully worked through special education issues in the school or district, then they may already have experience working with a special education attorney.

A personal referral will be able to give you a first hand report of the attorney’s ability in their case. You’ll have vital feedback on the attorney’s “bedside manner”. This will help you sort through a list of names and make a more effective decision.

special education attorney

Determine the Attorney’s Experience with Special Education Law

Special education law is a complex mix of state and federal regulations that is constantly changing. A special education attorney must be well versed in the most recent legal changes to best represent your child in disputes with schools and districts.

The legal teams representing the schools and districts understand the legal environment very well. You’ll want to ensure that a special education attorney you select is similarly prepared.

Additionally, an attorney who specializes in special education law will be able to determine the strength of your case and advise you whether to proceed or not. Working with an attorney is an expensive endeavor and you want to ensure that the money spent will lead to the best results for your child.

Make Sure the Attorney Understands Your Child’s Disability

An attorney that has represented children during the IEP development process or with a related dispute will likely provide the best service because they have experience. Again, the special education laws are complex. Working with a professional who best understands your child’s disability is most effective, as they have a better understanding of which services will be most beneficial.

Ensure that your money is spent with a professional who is well versed in the special education law so that you don’t waste precious time with mistakes or ineffective representation. The legal process can be slow. Work with a special education attorney with the requisite experience to resolve any issues that arise the first time.