Special Education & Disability Law

How can we help?

(Note: We are evaluating our ability to help in  this field as much with the summer 2016 departure of attorney Mary Katherine McKinley–while we are still willing and able to take on special need trust issues, our work in some other areas may be much more constrained–you can still call and we will review matters on a case-by-case basis.)

Special Education:Special Education and Dissability Law

  • Assist with planning for Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, attending IEP meetings with families, ensuring compliance with the provisions of IDEA and the Michigan Administrative Rules in addressing students’ needs through a comprehensive approach;
  • Advocating for students as to areas of disagreement between families and districts;
  • Challenging incorrect assumptions which form the basis for flawed recommendations (ensuring that districts share the high expectations of families, to the maximum extent possible);
  • Advocating for and representing students, informally as well as at IEP meetings, and, when necessary, representing clients at Due Process Hearings.


  • Assist with developing optimal transition planning, through the IEP process, using provisions of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA) and Michigan Administrative Rules to set high expectations and put in place supports and services to achieve maximum outcomes;
  • Advise families regarding surrogate decision making: is a guardianship necessary or are alternatives, such as particularized Powers of Attorney, more appropriate?  Helping families explore the legal ramifications and practical issues to various approaches.
  • Assist families by preparing surrogate decision making documents, petitioning for guardianship, or some optimized combination of these
  • Advise families about supports and services for adults with disabilities: SSI, Medicaid, community supports;

Americans with Disabilities Act:

Title II and Title III impose mandates on public agencies and on public accommodations to include people with special needs to the maximum extent possible.

  • If providers of extracurricular activities, such as day care or other providers, refuse to include your child or are demanding that you pay a premium for having your child included, Title II or Title III may apply.  Each circumstance is different, and rulings are fact specific.  We can advise you as to whether you have a case that is reasonably likely to be successful if you bring a challenge.