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 fifth 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 2, 2015 with the registration session and welcome reception and conclude on Friday afternoon, August 7, 2015. The program will include approximately 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 55. Applications will be considered on rolling basis bi-monthly, from February 1, 2015-June 30, 2015. *The Insitute is sold out and no longer accepting applications. Thank you!

Early applications are recommended.


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



  • History and Applicable Laws
  • Ethics in Special Education Advocacy (CLE credit)
  • Case Review and Analysis
  • Understanding Evaluations, Tests and Measurements
  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • Section 504
  • Eligibility
  • Behavioral Issues at School
  • Discipline
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Dispute Resolution and State Complaints
  • 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
  • Bullying
  • Medicaid Waivers
  • Educational Rights of Homeless Youth
  • Transitions


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 one graded credit 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 21, 2015 of no less than ten double-spaced pages to Professor Crystal Shin on a topic mutually agreed upon prior to August 7, 2015 .

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 July 31, 2015. Law students not currently enrolled at W&M must contact Crystal Shin 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, Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments, 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 55. 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? Please refer to this important ISEA FAQ sheet for questions you may have about the institute. We will  update this FAQ sheet regularly. Otherwise, contact the William & Mary Law Clinic's at (757) 221-5735 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 $129 per night. A block of rooms has been reserved for August 2, 2015 - August 7, 2015. The special room rate will be available until July 1, 2015 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:

The access to the faculty--national leaders in the field of special education advocacy--made this a week to remember.  ~Todd Ratner, VA

 "A comprehensive overview of special education advocacy". For an attorney thinking about practicing in this area, it is essential for understanding the issues and avoiding malpractice. ~Stacey Gahagan, NC

A week of training for a lifetime of advocacy and learning. ~Sarah Link, VA

ISEA is a mandatory step in any parent attorney or advocates professional development. At some point you need to attend. ~Kim Smith, CA

The Institute for Special Education Advocacy is the program to take if you want to learn how to be the best special education advocate you can be. ~Bridget Claycomb, VA

The only comprehensive special education advocacy training that I have found in the country. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to improve or enhance their advocacy skills. It was fantastic! ~Kimberly Crook, CO

It was an honor to meet and learn from the ISEA faculty and my fellow advocates. This program gave me the confidence to go out and learn more. I'm so glad to be a new member of the Wrightlaw Army. I honestly didn't want to leave. Can I come back next year? ~Lisa Frankel, DE

It is one thing to go to a great conference...the Institute transcends any previous experiences because of the extraordinary caliber and experience of the faculty, and the unusual personal nature of the interactions with both faculty and other participants. In addition to the wonderfully informative sessions, one night you may be discussing challenging areas of your practice with other professionals in your district, and another night you may be hearing personal experiences from a faculty member at dinner. I feel extremely fortunate to have had this opportunity, it truly has made the information come to life in powerful ways! ~Danielle Shahan, CA

This is an extraordinary program for both attorneys and advocates who have educational hurdles to overcome for the children they serve. Learn the appropriate methods, strategies and case law to support the families that you work with in order to benefit the child in his/her educational environment and thus make BOTH positive change AND a huge impact for the children that you serve with disabilities. ~ Jennifer Forsberg, TX

From a current law student's perspective, ISEA was a truly unique and worthwhile experience. It opened my eyes to what it means to advocate and what this work entails. Not only did I hone my legal understanding of SPED law, but I also learned how important it is to empathize with the population of clients that I serve. This quality alone is a unique asset that will set me apart as an attorney. ~Courtney Hagge, VA

A week of learning, a lifetime of opportunity. ~ Tracy Musgrove, WI

The presenters were first rate, subject matter current and well presented, skill level was obviously off the charts. The goal of this institute - to equip more individuals to pass on the knowledge and help children, not just make a living, is right on target and unfortunately a generosity rarely shown today. The generosity of the Wrights Law institute is obvious from their website- what other field can one find a private website which saves many thousands of dollars in fees by providing an enormous amount of information free, rather than to pay to have someone with a JD tell them? The same is overwhelmingly evident from this seminar / conference. The post seminar offers of accessibility show that the presenters align with the institute's initiative and intent. ~ Christine Karcher, FL

The opportunity to engage in discussions and gather information from leading experts in the field of Special Education Law and Advocacy is at your fingertips. I was compelled to take a hold of the opportunity at every chance and the Institute gives you multiple opportunities and chances. Come take a hold of your opportunity. ~ Kee Bryant-McCormick, TN

This training program is a must for professionals who want to provide quality advocacy for family of children with learning disabilities. ~ Nino Murray, HI

Anyone interested in the field of special education will find this course invaluable, not only because of the wealth of information and resources provided, but because of the network that you are inevitably linked into. ~ Trish Hasper, MA

Advocates and attorneys alike, whether experienced or new to the area of Special Education law, will benefit greatly from this Institute. The quality of the faculty is unparalleled. This is a great way to not only learn new things, but to also connect with the faculty and other advocates/attorneys from across the country to hone your skills, sharpen your thinking, open up new doors, and to soak in as much as you can. I left the ISEA even more passionate (I didn't think that was possible!) and with a whole new outlook on how to approach the work I do. In the end, it's all the students and families we serve who benefit the most from our experience at ISEA! And the location is amazing - what a bonus! ~ Lisa Lindsey, CA

class 2014