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Special Education Attorneys

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Legal & Financial Services > Special Education Attorneys


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2010 - 2013 Recommendations


Education Lawyer for special needs kid

March 2013

We are an Albany family with a special needs kid who is now getting pushback from the school. We are hoping to speak to a lawyer about next steps. Does anyone have a recommendation on an education lawyer who is familiar with the Albany Unified district? Needs help


Hello, I'm mom to two special needs children in Oakland, ages 4 and 7. I have found FRN (Family Resource Network) to be of HUGE help in these matters. I suggest talking to one of the parent advocates there before seeking a lawyers' services. They will often help you resolve issues before letting things get that far. I believe the director, Eileen is an Albany parent herself. They will attend IEPs and mediations etc. Their number is 510-547-7322 http://www.frnoakland.org/pages/enter.php Lilian

Special education lawyer needed

Jan 2011

We are looking for a special education lawyer for our underserved child in OUSD. Does anyone have any recent recommendations for someone who has experience in OUSD and good at coaching parents? The current atmosphere due to budget cuts, etc adds to the frustration and need for someone experienced and successful. Thanks! anon


Are you sure it's a lawyer you need? I ask because oftentimes people are advised to ''get a lawyer'' when actually what they need is an advocate. I would caution you strongly about starting off by hiring a lawyer because that will immediately change the tone of your dialogue with the school district, unless that's what you want. Hiring a lawyer is usually the last step you take when you're ready to go to court. Advocates can very easily do the same thing that you would think you need from a lawyer but they are cheaper, less adversarial (in theory) and most of the time faster. I'm sure you'll get some names from this list, but just please be careful about your next steps. I could give you more advice if I knew more about your situation and your reasons for being anonymous here are obvious. Please feel free to contact me directly if you think it would help you and your child. Jill
Special ed funding comes from a separate source of federal funds. You should only focus on the services that your child needs and not their budget problems. Have you requested a full set of evaluations; they are crucial to getting services. And you are entitled to independent evaluations if you are unsatisfied with the evaluations that the school district provides. Neil

Education/Special Education Lawyer

Jan 2011

We are looking for recommendations from the BPN community for an experienced lawyer who is familiar with education laws, Federal and State, and has a successful track record working with families in OUSD getting services for children. Our biggest fear is creating a hostile environment for our child, however, we do need help since there are many compliance issues. If you have a recommendation, it would be helpful if you asked the moderator for my email address. Thank you! Anon


Dear Parent,
I empathize with the concern that advocating for one's child will create a hostile environment in future interactions with the district or the school or the service providers or the mediators or all of the other administrator's that provide these services. And its ridiculous that society operates a service for which one of its results is the wear and tear on the parents of the children who, in truth, really do receive some of the benefits that should be delivered.

However, it has been my experience that one should not operate out of fear of raising a hostile atmosphere. The special education providers, and their associates have no use for a hostile environment any more that the recipients of the services.

The first understanding that a parent should have with the staff of special education providers is that this ''case'' will be a continuing and regular responsibility of all those involved, and that all will be cooperatively focused to provide the services and catch problems as they happen. I have found that this a key to a productive relationship. I have a 15 yr old son who I am navigating through the system. Neil


Attorney for IEP disagreement with school

March 2010

I have a child in Special Education with ADD and some language processing issues. We have been in an ongoing disagreement with our school district (Albany USD) over his IEP and are at the point that I think we need an attorney to help us, as we are heading toward filing a suit (due process complaint) against the district for failing to provide appropriate services, and several other issues. Any suggestions? Unhappy Albany parent


Catherine Doble is a great attorney from what I have heard. Unfortunately I do not have her number. I am also an Albany parent and unhappy. Would be interested to know which school your child attends and what grade he/she is in. Also are you a member of the Yahoo groups put on by an Albany Parent for families who have children with special needs? My child has processing issues and I would have to agree that I don't think they are addressing the issues appropriately. Frankly, I don't think they know what to do. Good luck. anonymous
DREDF will be able to provide some legal advice. They may also be able to refer you to an attorney. http://www.dredf.org/ Good Luck

2007 - 2009 Recommendations


Special education attorney for child with autism

March 2008

Looking for a referal for a special education attorney, for my child who has Autism. Is there anyone that you can suggest to be good or if you know of an attorny you would not suggest, I would like to know as well; If you could share your experience. Thank you. Mary


This is for Mary, who was looking for a special ed attorney for her child who has autism. I would recommend LaJoyce Porter, 1814 Franklin St., Suite 800, Oakland, CA 94612. (510) 444-9543 lporter[at]porterlawfirm.net.

I worked with Ms. Porter at an inhouse law firm, and she cared passionately about children's rights. She has special needs children, and she decided to put her passion and the expertise she had gained working on behalf of her children into her law practice. So she left the corporate world for her own practice emphasizing education law. Pat


Tamara Loughrey. She's taken on the special ed system as a parent and a lawyer. tamara[at]spedattorneys.com Anon

Advocate / Lawyer / Attorney For Special Education

March 2007

We are looking for a special education lawyer or advocate who is familiar with working with Oakland School District. Our son is almost three years old and was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum about a year ago. We need a good attorney / advocate to guide us through his first IEP with Oakland because this is the transition IEP from services funded by the Regional Center to services funded by the school district. Thank you in advance. Thank you! John


You may begin by contacting CASE (Community Alliance for Special Education). They are located in San Francisco. They do good work, mainly advocating for those needing special education services. They should be able to locate resources for this purpose. Their website is www.caseadvocacy.org. cindy

2004 - 2006 Recommendations


Looking for help with the IEP process

Feb 2006

WE are looking to hire a legal advocate familiar with the IEP process to be an advocate for our son who has special ed needs and is in the Accalanes School District. Our son was diagnosed with comprehensive ADHD and emotional problems and is classified as AB 3632. However, we are finding it difficult for the district to meet his needs and are looking for an advocate in the East Bay area to help us with the IEP process.


If you want an attorney, I highly recommend Kathryn Dobel in Berkeley, tel.no. (510) 548-2004. She helped me twice with my special ed kid, back in 1994 and 2000, when I had to fight against the school district's recommendations. We reached an agreement before we went to court and both times my son got what he needed. She's extremely knowledgeable and a fantastic advocate. The only problem is that she's extremely busy and may be working part-time now. But it wouldn't hurt to call and see what kind of help she can provide. Good luck. nj

Attorney for special education/IEP

Jan 2006

Can anybody recommend an attorney who works on special education issues? I'm anticipating an IEP-related fight with the school district. Somebody other than Katherine Dobel, who doesn't return phone calls. I'm also already familiar with DREDF. Thanks


Roberta Savage
221 G Street, Suite 207
Davis, CA  95616
She just had a baby so I don't know if she is working. If she isn't, however, any referral she would provide would be excellent. Another way to go would be to get an educational advocate, who attends meetings with you and helps structure the IEP, but is more collaborative and less hardball. Ask other IEP parents or attorneys for referrals. Hang in there

Special ed attorney for IEP

June 2005

Can anyone recommend a good attorney to help with an IEP, or relate your experiences, good, bad or mixed, with special ed attorneys? There have been great recommendations for Sarah Clarke, but her number is disconnected, and I don't think Catherine Dobel is taking new clients. Thanks anon


Not all special ed attorneys will attend IEPs, but some do, or work with local special education advocates.

Attorneys in the Bay Area include Elizabeth Aaronson 650-322-6387, Dave Sherman of Sherman & Zieglar, Valerie Montague 415-789-5693, Mike Zatopa of San Francisco.

Also check the Council of Parents Attorneys Advocate website: http:// www.copaa.org/find/index.asp and select ''California'' B.


We got past advice from Sarah Clarke but she decided to get out of special ed law Spring '05. What a loss to parents as she was very good. She referred us to Jonathan Quint in Oakland. We used him in what we felt was a successful mediation with our school district. His number is 510-595-9130 x120. We came with our paperwork organized for review and he was very straightforward about what would happen. He knew the various parties that would be involved with our case. He was good in the mediation. Good luck. lr

2003 & Earlier


Discrimination based on Learning Disability

February 2003

Hi, I am the mother of an 8 year old boy who was expelled from a private oakland school. I believe he was discriminated against because of his learning disabilities and that the school breached our contract by expelling him without allowing me to be involved, having never been put on probation or suspended before and not having allowed me to get a physicians diagnosis or psychological evaluation. He was also in the middle of an IEP. I am looking for a lawyer who has experience with ADA civil rights in the private realm, learning disabilities and contract law. Any help or suggestions would be app darlene


There is an organization called DREDF, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, that may be able to help you. Their main office is in Berkeley:
2212 Sixth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
510.644.2555 V/TTY
510.841.8645 fax
Their web site is: http://www.dredf.org/ Good luck. Cynthia
You probably have these resources, but I would call Community Alliance for Special Ed (CASE) at 415-928-2273, Protection and Advocacy (510-839-0811) or Disabilty Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) at 510-644-2555. I would think they could counsel you and/or refer you to an attorney. Good luck!! peggy
I have heard that Katherine Dobel in Berkeley is a lawyer for ADA education related issues. You might also try CASE which is an advocacy group. I am sure they would have recommendations for this kind of situation. I believe they have an office in Marin. If I can get my hands on their contact information, I will send it in. Also, Marjorie Kaplan, who is an educational therapist in Orinda, has worked with advocacy cases and would likely know some lawyers to contact. Good Luck. an educator
I believe you might want to speak to a lawyer by the name of Rhoda Benedetti. Not sure exactly where she is located, but I believe in the Walnut Creek area. She has a disabled daughter herself and is now an advocate for children with disabilities who are maneuvering through the school system. She is a rel go-getter! Sorry I cannot give you her phone #, but imagine you could find her out here without too much difficulty. Good luck! falconcrest

Attorney for Special Ed Child who is being underserved

2001

I need recommendations for attorneys who have been successful in suits against the Berkeley Unified School District. I have a child in Special Education and I believe she is being inappropriately place and underserved.


This message is forwarded from the ADA coordinator for the City of Oakland

There are two excellent national disability rights firms located in the East Bay. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is located in Berkeley and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is located in Oakland. Either firm might take your case.

Christine Calabrese
Oakland City Manager/ADA Programs
ccalabrese AT oaklandnet.com


Are you in need of an attorney or an advocate? We have an autistic child (13 yrs old) who is being tossed about in the Berkeley Special Ed Nightmare Machine. So, I know your travail, here. I can give you the name of an advocate, or I can ask our advocate for the name of an attorney he trusts. There is a big difference in the process and outcome. Our advocate is so skilled in these things that he has the bearing and expertise of a lawyer, but his expertise is in educational programs for the handicapped, physically, developmentally, learning disabled, etc. He has never lost a case. Sharp as a tack. Sweet and funny, too. His non-combative nature during IEPs is all ordered and part of a plan. He can get you what you need. Please contact me and I'd be happy to discuss this with you. Tobie
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