If your child is in a special education school and everything is going well, you may never need a solicitor. However, there is always the possibility that at some point during your child’s education you will need to consult a solicitor to advocate for your child.
When You May Need a Lawyer
Here are a few factors to consider when deciding if you need a lawyer:
- The strength of your case: if you are not sure if you have a good case against the school, you may want to talk to someone at Hanne & Co Solicitors. A lawyer will be able to tell you how strong your case seems.
- The case’s complexity: the more complicated the situation is, the more you could benefit from legal advice. A dispute that involves service issues and complex placement problems, for instance, requires the special knowledge and experience of a solicitor.
- Self-confidence: most parents are wonderful advocates for their children’s special education needs, but if you doubt your ability to negotiate or advocate, you may want to hire a lawyer rather than take on the case yourself.
- Time and energy: if you are a single parent, work full time, or have a tough schedule, you may want someone else to take the reins for you.
- Your relationship with the school: hiring a lawyer could change your relationship with the school district as the atmosphere will become more formal, and possibly combative. School personnel are more likely to be guarded and could see you as a troublemaker. Of course, if you are already considering hiring a lawyer, your relationship may already have changed. However, it is important to remember that your child’s welfare is more important than a relationship with a school district.
How Can a Solicitor Help?
An attorney with special needs education experience can help you in one of two ways. He or she can offer assistance and advice as needed throughout the entire process while you do you most of the work yourself, or your solicitor can become directly involved as a formal representative. You may very well prefer to have a lawyer do everything right from beginning to end, or you may prefer that he or she only handles certain tasks. The choice is yours.
Some of the tasks that a lawyer can help with include:
- Securing your child’s files from the school
- Requesting a meeting or evaluation with the school
- Preparing for the meeting with the school, including drafting notes and suggesting which materials would be most effective
- Going to the meeting with you
- Reviewing the evaluations and forms before you sign anything
- Researching certain legal issues that are applicable to your situation
- Helping you informally resolve a dispute with the school
- Assessing the strength of your potential case if you want to file a complaint
- Preparing for hearings and attending them
- Drawing up post-hearing briefs
- Arranging a complaint If you wish to file with the appropriate educational agency
- Representing you in court
An attorney will ensure you do not have to battle the school system alone.