What is an Education Lawyer?
An education lawyer is an attorney who works in the area of law relating to schools, school systems and education in general. Since Brown v. Board of Education, education lawyers have been a primary tool in arguing for the rights of citizens to have access to education. Education lawyers have been essential in the progress of discrimination in education from the integration of school districts to the handicapped.
Why do I need an Education lawyer?
An education lawyer is important when you have a child with a disability. By law your child is entitled to a free education at the taxpayers expense, even when your child is disabled. You should hire an education lawyer when your child has special needs that require more than the average student is entitled to.
When dealing with the school district and school boards an education lawyer will help you when you are denied special accommodations for your disabled child. Many parents will not retain education lawyers initially when dealing with the school board about a child’s special needs. An education lawyer, however, will be helpful when there arguments happen involving the amount and cost of special services for the disabled child including transportation and physical therapy,
Your education lawyer will know the laws involved with education and be proficient in analyzing the aspects of the Individuals with Disabilities in Employment Act. When your child is being disruptive and is being removed from the classroom your education lawyer will be able to fight for your students’ rights to stay in the classroom.
By law your child is entitled to stay in the classroom to pursue his, or her, education. A school district is allowed to remove your child from school for 10 consecutive days at a time. If the school district decides to remove your child for a longer period of time then it is time to consult your education lawyer. The school district will try to remove your child from the classroom because it is affecting the other students. Your education lawyer will attempt to show that your child’s condition was the reason for the disruption and had nothing to do with any other behavior.
An education lawyer will also be beneficial in fighting for you to gain access to your child’s education. You have a right to review your child’s education files, be a party to meetings involving the discipline and education of your child and be involved in the formulation of your child’s IEP.
Where can I find an education lawyer?
When you are looking for an education lawyer you have many options. Education lawyers maintain their own websites that can have valuable information on what they specialize in and where they practice. If you have a child with a disability you may also want to consider talking to parents of other disabled children in your community and in your child’s special education classroom. You can also search through the laws.com website. At the top of this page you will be able to find the “find a lawyer” link which will prompt you to input specific information about your location and the type of lawyer you are looking for. You can also take advantage of the laws.com referral service on the same page. By inputting your name, location, contact information, and the nature of your problem someone from laws.com will contact you with information about education lawyers in your area that can help you with your problem.
Qualifications & Experience
When searching for education lawyers to represent you and your child against unfair treatment by a school district you should look for an education lawyer with extensive experience litigating education, and civil rights matters. Your education lawyer should be barred and in good standing with the state. The education lawyer should also have dealt with that particular school district in the past. Usually these things are resolved without the involvement of the courts and will be handled in during informal IEP meetings. Your education lawyer should also be experienced in negotiation skills. Look for certificates of specialization in mediation, arbitration and other forms of alternate dispute resolution.
Rates & Fees
Education lawyers usually charge an hourly fee for their services. This will entail putting down a retainer fee with the education lawyer. As the education lawyer works on the case he, or she, will remove funds from the retainer account to pay for the hourly fees and costs associated with representing you and your child. Costs involved in litigation over education can involve expert witnesses, medical evaluations and clerical duties.
In many states, disputes involving the education of disabled children can result in the school board paying for the attorney’s fees of the plaintiff. This is one of the few areas of law in the United States where the plaintiff can be awarded attorney’s fees.
What questions to ask an education lawyer?
When seeking education lawyers you will want to perform a thorough search and interview a number of potential education lawyers. The education of your child is an important matter and should not be left to someone who is inexperienced in education law. Some questions you might want to keep in mind when consulting potential education lawyers are:
– Have you ever worked for the department of education?
– Have you ever had any disciplinary action taken against you?
– What are your hourly rates?
– What costs do you see in my case?
– How much of your practice is devoted to education law?
– What are the main issues with my case?
– Have you handled cases involving children with the same disabilities as my child?
– What was the result of that case?
– Do I need a lawyer for this situation or can I handle it on my own?
An education lawyer should be retained whenever you have a child with special need who is going to school to pursue his, or her, education. By law, under the IDEA, your disabled child has the right to an education, even if it requires spending more money on that child than on other children in the school district. The school board’s goal is to keep costs down and will try to deny you and your child the services you need. That is when you need an education lawyer. An education lawyer will fight for you and your child so that he, or she, will not be punished for actions caused by his, or her, disability; will help get the school board to provide in school physical therapy, transportation and anything else your child may need in their education.