Education Law Advocates, P.C.


Education Law Advocates, P.C.
Education Attorneys

Michalisa Marshall Pugh, Esquire

What We Believe

Welcome! We believe every disabled child is entitled to the education and support he or she needs in order to learn, grow and develop. That is not just our belief; it is the law! Federal law recognizes that "disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society." Is that what you believe, too?  Every disabled child is entitled to an appropriate education that will meet his "unique needs" and prepare him for "further education, employment, and independent living."  (20 United States Code 1400 (c)(1) and (d)(1)(A)). The concept is simple. Some children learn differently. Some require different kinds of support at school than others. Schools are required by law to provide each disabled child with the kind of help he or she reasonably requires. So remember: you and special needs child have rights under the law.

If you believe as we do, read on. Or, if you prefer, call us now or email us at We want to help. There is no charge for a brief phone conversation of five minutes or so. We are happy to talk to you. It helps us to get a better idea of your child's needs and whether we can assist you. And sometimes we can make a quick suggestion or two that parents find helpful in obtaining the services their child needs.

(Photo at left: my dear partner in life and in this law practice, Michalisa Marshall Pugh, who loved this work and continues to inspire me, though she is gone).

We can help!

Is your special needs child receiving the help she needs at school to prepare for the life you envision for her? Are you confused by your child's "IEP" or what the teachers are telling you about his challenges at school? Do you sometimes feel "outgunned and outnumbered" at school meetings? Are you worried about your child's future? Is the school taking your concerns seriously? Do you know your rights as the parent of a special needs child under federal and state law? You do not need to "settle" for an inadequate education for your child. Help is available! We can assist in the following ways:


1. Study Questions Effectiveness of One-to-Ones in Special Ed., Disability Scoop, Shaun Heasley, 9/25/15.

2. The Common Core is Tough on Kids with Special Needs. The Atlantic, K. Beals, 2/21/14.

3.  Report Prompts Renewed Push to Limit Restraint, Seclusion, disabilityscoop, M.Diament, 2/13/14.

4.  Congress Gives Special Education $500 Million Boostdisabilityscoop, M. Diament, 1/17/14.

5.  Office of Civil Rights cautions school districts against retaliation.  OCR Letter, 4/24/13.

Upcoming Events and Parent Training

Free Advocacy Clinics, Arc of Chester County, Weekdays or Saturdays, 610.896.8090.

Transition Workshop: Components of an IEP Transition Plan, Arc of C.C., 4/30, 11:30-1:00, 610.696.8090, x216 (Anita).

Special Ed Workshop: The IEP, Part 2, West Grove Borough Bldg., 5/6/14, 9:30-12:30, 610.696.8090, x216 (Anita).

Spring Virtual Conf. on ADHD, CHADD, May 3, 9:45-5pm.

Webinar, Bullying Prevention, What Administrators Need to Know (open to parents), 5/15/14, info - Cntr for Safe Schools.

  • Phone Support. Just want to talk to an education lawyer by phone about your child? We understand.  We can better advise you if we have reviewed your child's records first, but it's up to you. We charrge nothing to talk to a parent for five minutes or so initially just so we can get an idea of what is going on with your child at school. After that, we charge for our time. That's how we keep our lights on :-).

  • Clarity is power! You can't achieve a goal until you know what it is! Many parents we see are feeling overwhelmed by their child's needs, evaluations and "IEPs" they don't understand, and so much else. We can help you get clear on what you need to achieve, and get goals and a plan in place that can work for your child.

  • Coaching. Just want information, guidance and "coaching" by an education attorney from time to time? Would you like to check with us about your child's new "IEP" or "504 Plan?" No problem. We've got the law covered. And we can help keep you out of the "legal potholes" that can trap the unwary. We also can suggest other resources that can help you and your child. Consider us your "behind-the-scenes" coach to help you get the help your child needs at school.

  • "Non-Litigation Help." We don't want to expose you to the risks, stress, time and possible expense of litigation unless we can't get what your child needs through informal means. We can attend school meetings and take other steps to try to get what's needed in the quickest, cheapest, most efficient way possible. It is sad, but true, that schools tend to pay more attention to parents when they are accompanied by their legal counsel.

  • Filing for "Due Process." Sometimes you can't get what your child needs at school through informal means. The school may believe in good faith that your child is not legally entitled to the services you seek. Or it may not be willing to "get serious" unless it is sued. Or the time for bringing suit may be running out and you must file a lawsuit to "stop the clock." We can review with you the potential risks, benefits, costs and other factors you need to consider to determine whether to file a lawsuit. If you decide to sue, and if we believe your case has merit, we will fight hard in court to secure the services your child needs.

  • Mediation and Litigation "Support." In Pennsylvania, attorneys may not represent parents in a special education "mediation." But we can help you prepare winning arguments for mediation. We also can assist you "behind the scenes" with due process hearings or appeals, if you seek only advice and guidance, and not in-court legal representation.

So we can help. With information. With advice. With parent "coaching" behind the scenes. With legal representation focused on getting results amicably and "informally." Or, when necessary, with knowledgeable, aggressive legal representation at a "due process" hearing or on appeal to federal or state court. We cover all the bases. And remember: You have options! In most cases, filing a lawsuit is a last resort.

Take control and take action! Call us now at 610.696.5006 or email us now!

Got Questions?

Want to consult with an education lawyer to discuss your child, your options, and your rights? By phone? In person? Want to review your child's IEP with us? Discuss school discipline? Ask about private placements? You may not want to hire a lawyer. You may just want to learn more about what you can do on your own. Whatever it is, we're here.

  • We will consult with any parent about anything for ½ hour for $50 or one full hour for $100.

Want To Know More?

Choosing an education lawyer is an important decision.

♦  Want to know more about us? Click on "Who We Are."

♦  Want to know more about our approach as lawyers to helping you obtain the school services your child needs? Click on "Our Approach."

♦  Want to know about our charges? Or where we are located? Or have other questions? Click on "FAQ."

♦  Want to know more about the laws affecting you and your child's right to a special education? Click on "Law Links."

♦  Want to know more about other individuals and organizations that offer help to parents like you? Click on "People Links."

♦  Want to learn how to save money on attorney fees? Click here.

♦  Interested in a "legal check-up" and how it works? Click here.

Have other questions? Call us.

A Final Word

We invite you to contact us. But whether you contact us or you don't, we encourage you to never give up in your efforts to obtain the education for your son or daughter that is so important for their future.

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ELA Education Law Advocates PC - Special Education Lawyers

The Culbertson Building
590 Snyder Avenue
West Chester, Pennsylvania 19382
Voice: 610.696.5006
Fax: 610.696.6590

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Education Law Advocates, P.C. skillfully represents parents and their special needs children in southeastern and central Pennsylvania, including West Chester, Lower Merion, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown and Upper Darby, and throughout the Philadelphia metro area, including Chester County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Philadelphia, Lancaster County and Berks County.

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