Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Special Education Legal Representation: Is it a "Good Ole Boys" Club?

How can I be sure my attorney is on my side? He jokes with the school’s attorneys during meeting breaks. They seem to be very chummy. Is this just another “good ole boys’ club”?

This question comes up all the time, not just in special education cases. I often hear people say that the legal system is unfair. They watch the attorneys battle in the courtroom, then walk outside, laugh, and make plans to play golf. People assume it is a “good old boys” club and it is impossible for parents to get a fair hearing. They believe that all the attorneys are friends and that somehow makes it a conspiracy.

An attorney friend once explained it this way to me. He said that attorneys must separate what goes on in the courtroom from their personal life. They cannot let their courtroom opponents become hated enemies. Eventually, each attorney will face many, if not all, of the attorneys in their area as an opponent in court. If they begin to hate the opponents they face, soon they will hate ALL of the attorneys. At some time, they will face them all in court.

Attorneys have an ethical obligation to vigorously defend their clients. The legal system is adversarial, by design. That does not mean that all adversaries are enemies.

Many attorneys are frustrated actors/actresses. That is part of what makes them good at what they do. Think about it. To be a good advocate, your attorney must maintain his/her emotions. If she becomes out-of-control, the school’s attorney is in control. Yet, your attorney must be indignant and outraged at the way the school is treating you and your child. This takes a special skill and calling.

Do not assume that because those in the legal profession are civil – or even friendly – to each other that there is a conspiracy. Your attorney is on your side, or he would not have taken your case.

Institute of Special Education Advocacy

I am happy to announce that the application process for the 2014 Institute of Special Education Advocacy is now open. I understand that we have our first two applications already. Do not miss this opportunity to apply. The Institute is limited to 75 participants. The application process is lengthy and, we are told, not easy.

If you want to learn more about the Institute or want to download the application, please click the link below:

Will we see you there?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Special Education Advocacy Training Introductory Meeting

COMING SOON: April 2014 SEATT Introductory Meeting

Are you a parent of a child who is in special education or who is struggling in school and you have been unsuccessful in getting appropriate services? Do you know a parent who has a child who is struggling in school? Are you intimidated by your IEP Meetings? SEATT is for you. We will be holding trainings on general advocacy, tests and measurements, Organizing your child's file, and other topics of interest. Please email me at if you are interested in participating. While this Advocacy group targets Tippecanoe County and the surrounding area, we welcome any parent who needs to learn to be a better, more efficient and effective advocate for their child.

Stay tuned here or on my website: for details on exactly when and where this meeting will be held.