William and Mary Law School

The William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy

The William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy is presenting it's fourth annual five-day training program hosted by the William & Mary School of Law and co-sponsored by the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic, Wrightslaw, and The Oklahoma Disability Law Center. The purpose of this program is to provide training in special education advocacy for experienced advocates, law students (credit & non credit), new attorneys, and attorneys who are new to special education law. This five-day training program will begin in Williamsburg, VA on Sunday evening, August 3, 2014 with the registration session and welcome reception and conclude on Friday afternoon, August 8, 2014. The program will include 25 sessions on applicable laws, ethics, best practices in advocacy, strategies in working with parents and schools, and dispute resolution procedures, taught by national leaders in the field.

Attendance is limited to 75. Applications will be considered on rolling basis bi-monthly, from February 1, 2014-June 30, 2014.  Early applications are recommended.

**Registration is closed and we are at capacity.

The program will be held at:
The William & Mary School of Law 613 South Henry Street Williamsburg, VA 23185-4110


Topics include:

  • History and Applicable Laws
  • Ethics in Special Education Advocacy (CLE credit)
  • Introduction to Legal Research
  • Case Review and Analysis
  • Understanding Evaluations, Tests and Measurements
  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Section 504
  • Eligibility
  • Behavioral Issues at School
  • Discipline
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Negotiating with Schools - Getting to YES!
  • School Perspectives
  • Strategies for Working with Schools
  • Strategies for Working with Parents
  • Dispute Resolution and State Complaints
  • Experts as Fellow Advocates
  • Preparing a Case for Trial/Due Process
  • Using Evaluations, Tests and Measurements as Evidence
  • Evidence Strategies
  • Legal Claims and Remedies
  • Creating Systemic Change in Your State


The registration fee includes the opening reception, all lunches and scheduled breaks, a mid-week evening goup dinner with program speakers, over $200.00 in books and DVDs, and all ISEA course materials.

Registration Fees

Advocates, Educators/Advocates, Non-Attorneys


Attorneys (CLE credit pending)


2+ Individuals from same office

10% discount

Law Students (non-credit)



Scholarships: Some state Planning Councils or Developmental Disabilities Councils offer scholarships or funds for participation in conferences and short-term educational programs for advocates in the field of developmental disabilities. You may want to investigate funding available in your state. Go to the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. Click on the map for your state Council website to begin your search. (Example: Oklahoma HYPERLINK "http://www.okddc.ok.gov/consumer_involvement_fund.html" Consumer Involvement Fund or the Indiana Consumer Investment Fund.)

Registration for Law Students

Law students can earn two graded credits for this course.  Each law student enrolled for credit will be required to complete the ISEA application, pre-assigned work for ISEA, attend all ISEA sessions, and submit a paper no later than August 22, 2014 of no less than ten double-spaced pages to Professor Patty Roberts on a topic mutually agreed upon prior to August 8, 2014 .

Student tuition and fee information is found on this page: http://www.wm.edu/offices/financialoperations/sa/tuition/index.php. William & Mary students may register on-line prior to August 3, 2014. Law students not currently enrolled at W&M must contact Patty Roberts to apply for admission to this course.

*All registrants will receive new copies of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, and Wrightslaw: All About IEPs. If you already have copies with notes and wish to use your books for classwork, please do not hesitate to bring them with you.

Application Process

Attendance is limited to 75. Attendees will be selected via an application process. The application form includes all registration details, costs, applicant questionnaire, and required pre-conference assignments. Download the application.

If accepted, participants agree to complete all pre-conference assigned reading and course work, attend and participate in all sessions, and complete all homework and class assignments.

Submit your application to the Parents Engaged for Learning Equality (PELE) Clinic at William & Mary Law School with a deposit check in the amount of $250. Checks should be made out to the Marshall-Wythe School of Law Foundation or MWSLF. Please write ‘Registration for ISEA’ in the memo field.

If you are accepted, payment of the remaining registration fee must be received within ten days of notification of your acceptance in ISEA. If you are not enrolled in the course, your deposit check will be returned immediately.

Download the application.

Credits: CLE's (continuing legal education) credits and CEU's (continuing education units) are anticipated for this conference.

Questions? Contact the William & Mary Law Clinic's at (757) 221-3780 or pele@wm.edu

Logistics, Directions, Accommodations
Directions to William & Mary. Campus map.

Visiting Williamsburg area. Williamsburg area map. Airports
The airports closest to William & Mary Law School are Newport News - Williamsburg - PHF (approximately 20 miles), Norfolk International - ORF (approximately 45 miles) and Richmond International - RIC (approximately 45 miles).

Airport Transportation

Tidewater Coach shuttles to the Colonial Williamsburg area from Newport News, Norfolk, or Richmond airports offers a special ISEA rate.


The Embassy Suites Williamsburg is offering a special room rate of $119 per night. A block of rooms has been reserved for August 3, 2014 - August 8, 2014. The special room rate will be available until July 2, 2014 or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first. The hotel offers guests both a complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and a complimentary cocktail reception daily.

*Direct link for reservations will be posted soon.


What previous ISEA graduates are saying about our program:

"Outstanding! What an opportunity to learn from the best! The material covered and the presenter's experience was a perfect blend, all was immediately helpful and relevant. A must for anyone interested in improving their skills."                                                            ~Christine Riley, MA

"No matter how many years you have been in the field, this experience will enlighten you, educate you and reignite that inner passion that motivates you."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ~Udyss Romano, FL

"Simply "a must attend program". As much so as is Pete's conferences."                                                                                                            ~Faith Filiault, CT

"No Advocate should be holding themselves out there as being knowledgeable UNLESS they have taken this class..."                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ~Darcy Cunningham, VA

"You need this program to have a comprehensive understanding of Special Education Advocacy."                                                           ~Elliott Dugger, GA

"Yes i would recommend this program to others! It was an amazingly intense and wonderful week of learning and networking bringing together those wishing to challenge the status quo for children with disabilities and their families!"                                                       ~Ginger Wells, OK

"ISEA is the best, most intense and most practical week of training I have ever attended. The courses strengthened my understanding of special education law and the speakers inspired me and opened my eyes to new ways to help kids in special education get what they need in school."                                                                                                                                                                                                             ~Kristen Tassin, TX, Attorney

"As an advocate, this was one of the most unbelievable events of my life. We had the best of the best of speakers and a wide variety of attendees. This melting pot allowed for different views and questions that allowed us to learn even more."                                            ~Laura Peddicord, TX

"ISEA should be on the "bucket list" for anyone, attorney or advocate, who is serious about special education advocacy."                       ~Chan Stroman, WI, Attorney

 "Strap on your seatbelt......you’re going on a Special Education Advocacy ride!!! One you will never forget, but will learn a lot!!!"   ~Tanya Inabinet, SC

 "My week at ISEA is one week I will never forget. I met a lot of great people who share my passion to advocate for children with special needs. I gained so much more knowledge about the field of special education advocacy then I had when I came into the program. I would highly recommend this program to anyone currently advocating for children in special education or planning to advocate."            ~Amanda O’Neal, CA, Law Student

"Speaking as an educator, this clinic gave me a remarkable perspective into the legal side of education. I learned a great deal about the tremendous undertaking a parent faces when pursing legal action in educational matters. I learned that sometimes communication breaks down and how to proceed appropriately to obtain the desired outcome for a child. This clinic has demonstrated to me how to be a better consultant to parents and how to work as a team to achieve the best outcome for the student. This clinic is a must for any Educational Advocate or attorney working in educational law. It is also relevant to any educator that wishes to understand what happens when and if the process breaks down."                                                                                                                                                     ~Debra Coldsmith, VA


ISEA Class of 2013

2013 group shot