Education Law Advocates, P.C.

FAQs

Education Law Advocates, P.C.
Education Attorneys

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Choosing an education lawyer is an important decision. You probably have questions. All clients understandably have questions about our fees.  You may have questions about meeting with us for the first time or the geographical area we serve.  You may simply need directions to our office. You may have many other concerns.

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions are listed below. If your question isn't answered here, feel free to contact us.  We will be happy to answer any questions you may have!  Call us now at 610.696.5006 or email us now by clicking here.

FAQs

Q. I live too far away to consult with an education attorney in person. Can I consult with you by phone?

Q. Do you handle "regular" education cases?

Q. What areas do you serve?

Q. Where is your office?

Q. How much will it cost for an initial phone or email consultation?

Q. What if my problem cannot be resolved in a free phone consultation?

Q. How should I prepare for the initial in-office consultation?

Q. What are your standard charges?

Q. Will I need to go to a Due Process Hearing?

Q. Am I entitled to obtain my child's educational records from the school? How can I get them?

Phone Consultations for Parents Outside our Service Area

Q. I live too far away to consult with an education attorney in person. Can I consult with you by phone?

A.  Yes.  Sometimes, we can "meet you half-way," instead of holding our initial meeting in our West Chester office.  We prefer meeting parents and children in person, when possible.  But we will consutl with parents by phone when they need the help an education attorney can provide and live in a remote part of Pennsylvania.

"Regular" Education Cases

Q.  Do you handle "regular" education cases?

A. Yes! Although our primary focus is on representing children with special needs and their parents, we also represent so-called "regular ed" kids and their parents. Cases that may arise for regular education students can include:

  • bullying
  • suspensions
  • expulsions
  • "gifted" education
  • freedom of expression
  • access to educational records
  • privacy
  • confidentiality

Geographical Areas Served

Q. What areas do you serve?

A. We generally serve clients throughout southeastern and central Pennsylvania who are within a two-hour drive from our offices in West Chester, including the counties of Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, Lancaster, Berks, and Schuylkill.  We also are available for phone consultations and follow-up assistance by phone and email with parents in remote parts of the state.  In some cases, we will travel to other parts of the state, such as Center County.

Office Location

Q. Where is your office?

A. We are located a mile outside the borough of West Chester near Route 202. For directions and a map, just click on this link.

Initial Phone or Email Consultation

Q. How much will it cost for an initial phone or email consultation?

A. Nothing! There is no charge for an initial phone consultation lastng about five minutes. We will try to make a suggestion or a referral that can help you resolve your problem - and we are happy to do it. You can call us or email us at this link.  We're sorry we can't take longer than the five minutes or so we mentioned, but sadly we don't have the resources to do it.

Further Consultations

Q. What if my problem cannot be resolved in an initial phone consultation?

A. We would be happy to meet with you during the day or evening. If you live some distance from our offices in West Chester, we may be able to arrange to meet you at a location halfway between your home and our office.

Initial Meeting

Q. How should I prepare for the initial office consultation?

A. It's completely up to you! But we recommend the following:

  • Send us copies of your child's evaluations, IEP's and other important educational records at least a week before we meet so that we can carefully review them. The more we know about your child and his or her records, the better we can advise you.
  • Think about the problems your child is experiencing. What are your educational goals for your child? What are your other goals for your child? What do you expect your child to be doing and what skills do you expect your child to learn in a year? In five years? In ten years? What needs to happen now in school to help your child reach those goals?
  • Jot down important questions before we meet so that you can be sure to get answers during our meeting. Or you can email those questions to us before we meet.

Fees and Costs

Q. What are your standard charges?

A. We are committed to making legal representation of children and their parents as affordable as possible in order to serve as many people who need a lawyer as we can.

  • Initial interview and standard hourly rate. We charge a flat fee of $290 to review your child's records, meet with you initially for however long you need, and prepare a brief email after our meeting proposing follow-up activities and making recommendations.  If you would like to retain our services thereafter, our attorney fees are charged at a rate of $175 per hour.  If you would simply like to meet with us for up to an hour and a half initially, with no prior review of records and no follow-up email, our flat fee is $200.  But the more information we have, the more helpful we can be.  So keep that in mind.

  • Due Process. We will charge you a standard hourly fee of $175 for all work we do in connection with litigating a due process case.  Due process cases can be very expensive. Attorney fees can be high because so much attorney time is required to prepare for and try the case - about 60-100 hours of attorney time on average, and sometimes much more, depending upon the complexity of the issues, the number of witnesses, the difficulties of proof, the aggressiveness of the defense, the number of exhibits, and many other factors.

    In most cases, we will agree in advance to limit your attorney fees to a fixed amount of no more than $7,500, regardless of the number of hours that we must spend to properly present your case at due process. But expert witness fees, bulk (outside) copy costs, and other costs can drive your total costs much higher. In some cases, we may be able to recover some or all of your attorney fees from the school district under the fee reimbursement provision of IDEA 2004 that applies to a "prevailing party." However, there is never any guaranty that such fees can be recovered under the statute.

  • Pro Bono Representation. In selected cases, where the need is greatest, we may agree to represent you in a due process case for a small fee per month, not to exceed $100.

We have a monthly payment option that we will be happy to discuss with you, along with all fees, costs and billing procedures. We also can accommodate credit card payments.

Due Process

Q. Will I need to go to a Due Process Hearing?

A. No, not usually, but every case is different. We always try first to resolve problems at the least adversarial - and least expensive - level possible. Due process hearings are difficult, time-consuming and expensive - and there is no guarantee of the result. But sometimes, there is no other way. After we have reviewed your child's records and obtained more information from you, we will be able to discuss your legal options and make recommendations, including due process, if indicated. We will help you get clear on the services your child needs and is legally entitled to receive, and help you to develop a plan for securing those services.

Educational Records

Q. Am I entitled to obtain copies of my child's school records?  How can I get them?

A. Yes. The best way, in our opinion, is to send the school a letter requesting them. The school may charge a reasonable expense for copying the records and take a reasonable time in which to produce them. We have a form letter requesting records on our "forms" page. You can also obtain more information on obtaining your child's records by going to http://www.wrightslaw.com/, where you also will find a sample letter requesting school records. And, of course, you can always contact us for more information.

Question not answered? Call us now at 610.696.5006 or email us now by clicking here.

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
E-mail

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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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