How to Find and Choose a Special Education Lawyer
Do you have a child with special needs, but is being refused services?
Has your child been found unfit for a specialized education program, and assistance?
If so, this article is for you. We will go over how a special education lawyer can help you fight for your child’s rights, and provide him with the support that he needs.
Keep reading to discover how a lawyer can help, deciding whether you need one, tips for finding one, and questions to ask when you do.
How Can a Special Education Lawyer Help?
In order to understand if hiring a special education lawyer to represent you and your child, you must first understand what they will do for you.
By knowing what sort of services they can provide, you will be aware of the type of issues that you can tackle together, as a team. Usually, this is what an attorney will help you out with:
- Acquiring an educational evaluation for special education
- Assessing and preparing documentation for evaluation/eligibility screening
- Attending the meetings for eligibility and evaluation
- Advocating for the rights of your child with the district
- Requesting documentation and files pertinent to your child’s progress
- Resolving disputes between you and other parties
- Advising on the strengths of your child’s specific case scenario
- Reviewing documentation that requires your signature
- Preparing and attending court proceedings on your behalf
- Representing you and your child in court
- Taking school parties to court for refusing service
- Accommodating the child with a better alternative than the one provided by the school
As in most cases, it is best if you advocate and stand up for your child – however, this is not always possible. A special education lawyer can help you do the things that you simply cannot or have been prevented from doing by others.
How to Decide If Hiring a Special Education Lawyer Is Right for You?
When it comes to making a choice on hiring a special education lawyer, there are a variety of factors that come in to play.
Nonetheless, there is some that stick out the most:
The Needs of the Child
The entire premise of hiring a special education lawyer is to accommodate your child and their needs.
If your child is in dire need of the services and assistance but is being refused time and time again – it is time to get in touch with a lawyer.
The Issues At Hand
When it comes to dealing with rights, legal grounding, and opposition – the issue of being refused services can become quite complex.
Even with the necessary resources, and time – it can become tough to handle. A lawyer is an expert in the field, and he knows what to do.
Your Resources and Time
Being a parent is exhausting, even when it brings us so much joy. It can be often harder on the parent when you have to deal with these issues on behalf of your child.
Take note of your resources and time. If you don’t have the time to get things done, the lawyer can help you partake in activities, which require the care and consideration that you simply are not able to provide.
Your Relationship With the School
When it comes to special education, the relationship between the parent and school can quickly become heated. If effective communication is not part of the equation, the relationship is bound to dwindle.
Allowing another party to perform the duties of communication can help things get moving, and accelerate the process for your child.
The entire backdrop of having a special education child comes with a variety of increased costs, and inconveniences. A lawyer isn’t cheap, so it is important to understand if you have the resources to afford one.
In some cases, it is best to contact a local bar association, asking a community institution or non-profit for assistance with your issues. Often, you will be able to find someone willing to help.
Tips for Finding a Lawyer That Is Right for You
So if you’ve come to the idea of hiring a special education lawyer, there are some tips that you can follow, in order to help you out when finding the right one.
- Find a lawyer who has direct special education expertise (not just theory, in practice too)
- Find a lawyer who is able to get along with your child, and understands their needs
- Understand how the services will be charged for
- Find a lawyer that you can get along with as well as your child can
- Understand the role the lawyer will play. Weigh the involvement of the lawyer, as most times a paralegal will be taking on the bulk of the work. (That can be a bad thing)
- If possible, find a lawyer from a special education law firm.
Questions to Ask Your Special Education Lawyer
Anyhow, now that you’ve found a lawyer. Ask them these questions during the interstitial meeting.
- What experience do they have in the specific category of the issue?
- Can you provide an outline of how the case should be handled?
- What is the time frame to complete the matter?
- Do you possess malpractice insurance?
- Will I take part in the case at any point?
- How will I be informed of progress?
- Can we establish a fee agreement in detail?
- What is the approximate final amount for the process?
Some law firms will charge you for the consultation, but in special education law, this is rare.
After you’ve met the lawyer, ask yourself this:
- Am I comfortable around the lawyer? Can I trust them?
- Am I confident in the lawyer’s ability to handle the case?
- Do I fully understand the case through the words of the lawyer?
- Do I understand the proposed fee agreement? And is it manageable?
Your Child’s Needs – Finally Met
Now that we’ve covered everything on finding the right special education lawyer for your child, you are well on your way to deciding if hiring one is best for your problem.
In any case, a lawyer will perform their best to help you prove your child’s rights, advocate for them, and receive the services/assistance that he needs. Whether it be from the school, the government, or any other party.
We truly hope that the needs of your child are met, and we wish you the best of luck in finding the lawyer who will help you achieve that.
If you’re interested in other legal blogs, check out our other article.