Education Law Advocates, P.C.

Our Approach

Education Law Advocates, P.C.
Education Attorneys

Charles and Michalisa Pugh

The special education lawyers at Education Law Advocates, P.C. are parents, too. We know how stressful it can be to raise a child who presents special challenges.

We know how confusing and frustrating it can be for a parent to try to deal with school administrators and teachers, evaluators and evaluations, IEP's, disciplinary issues, reading problems, and all of the other challenges that sometimes arise.

We know that nothing in life is more important to you than your child.

Our Beliefs

As lawyers – and as parents – we believe the following:

  • Disability is a natural part of the human experience that in no way diminishes the right of each individual to participate in society.
  • Every child with a disability is entitled to a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet his or her unique needs .
  • Protecting the legal rights of every child with a disability and the child's parents is an important national goal.

But these are not just our beliefs. They are federal law, as reaffirmed by Congress in the new “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (“IDEA 2004”). See for yourself. Read Sections 601(c) and (d) of IDEA 2004. Go to ftp://ftp.pattan.k12.pa.us/pattan/LAW/IDEIA108446.pdf

So the law is on your side! But do you know your legal rights? If you do not know your rights, how can you be sure that your child is receiving all of the services that he or she is legally entitled to receive?

The four keys to effective advocacy for every parent:

  • Get clear on what you want.
  • Get clear on your legal rights.
  • Take action!
  • Follow through.

Our advice to parents: Be informed. Be focused. Be organized. Be persistent. Be polite. And never give up! Knowledge is power, but only if you convert it into action.

Our Approach to Getting Results

The special education lawyers at Education Law Advocates, Charles and Michalisa Pugh, are experienced litigators. Each of us is a trained litigator with over 20 years of experience. Out of that experience, we have developed three cardinal rules for getting results.

Rule No. 1:  Get Clear on What You Want!

You cannot accomplish anything important for your child unless you first get clear on what you want. We will help you to get clear on what you want and what your child is legally entitled to receive. Before we meet, in most cases, we will carefully review your child's educational records, including the IEP's, evaluations, reports and other documents. Then we will meet with you to discuss your child's situation in detail, review your options and develop a plan of action. In most cases, we will prepare a letter providing you with our analysis, conclusions and recommendations. The idea is to gather the facts, analyze the facts, develop a plan - and execute the plan.

Rule No. 2:  Get What You Want at the Least Adversarial Level Possible

Always seek to get the services your child needs and is legally entitled to receive at the least adversarial level possible . In other words, you don't sue a school district just to sue a school district. Suing a school district can be time-consuming and expensive – and, in many cases, it is unnecessary. So stay focused. Your goal should be to obtain the educational services your child needs with the lowest possible expenditure of your "treasure" – your time, your emotions, your money.

Of course, sometimes a school district will leave you no choice. You will have to bring suit when it will not agree to provide the services that your child needs and is legally entitled to receive.

We are trained litigators. Fighting for your rights in a courtroom is an important part of what we do. Our promise: We will fight hard for you and your child.

Rule No. 3:  Facts Win Cases!

Our experience as litigators over the years teaches this: Facts win cases! Not anger. Not emotion. Not screaming. Not pleading. Not threatening. Facts!

To prevail at any level, you must carefully prepare, marshall the facts and the evidence, and be persuasive. This is the hard work of getting what you want. At the end of the day, the question always is, who's right? Who should prevail? Do the facts as set forth in the documents and the testimony establish that your child is legally entitled to receive the services you seek? Are the arguments based on those facts persuasive? If so, in most cases, you will get the services your child is legally entitled to receive.

But remember this: There may be a world somewhere in which a school administrator always is guided by the facts and what is fair, and in which a hearing officer is never influenced by extraneousfactors and unerringly renders every decision. But, as adults, we know that this is not the world we live in.

Mistakes are made. Parents who should win sometimes don't.  School districts who shouldn't win sometimes do. Face it. If the right side always won, O.J. probably wouldn't be living in Florida right now. So that's life. And that is why it is sometimes better to get most of what you want through a settlement than to try to get all of what you want through a verdict. There is no such thing as a "guaranteed" result at trial.

Our Services

What kind of help do you need?

  • Would you like a free consultation with a special education attorney?  We would be glad to talk to you by phone – at no charge - for 15 minutes.  Please understand that we can never obtain enough information during that phone conversation to provide you with a "legal opinion." But we will try to help.  In some cases, we can suggest ways you can approach or resolve the problem on your own. Call us now at 610.696.5006 or email us now.
  • Would you like a “legal check-up?"  We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your child's situation and your legal rights and options. Is your child's IEP meeting his or her unique needs?  Is your child receiving the free appropriate education to which she is entitled by law?  What actions can you take on your own to obtain the educational services your child needs?  We can help.  And in future years you can call or meet with us, as necessary, if other issues arise.  It's about forming a relationship.
  • Are you considering due process?  We provide skillful, knowledgeable, aggressive legal representation.
  • Do you want to handle your own mediation or due process hearing?  It is not easy. We usually do not recommend it.  But if you wish to do it on your own and want legal guidance, we can help you get informed, get organized and get ready.

The special education lawyers at Education Law Advocates have two goals:

  1. to help every child with a disability to obtain all of the special education and related services to which he or she is entitled by law; and
  2. to empower parents to be effective advocates for their children.

We are confident we can help.

Education law is virtually all we do.

Call us now at 610.696.5006 or email us now.

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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