The William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy


The William & Mary Law Institute of Special Education Advocacy is presenting it's sixth annual five-day training program hosted by William & Mary Law School 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, July 31, 2016 with the registration session and welcome reception and conclude on Friday afternoon, August 5, 2016. 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 reviewed starting on March 1, 2016 on a bi-weekly rolling basis until the class is full. Early applications are recommended.


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



  • Ethics CLE
  • History & Relevant Law
  • Inclusion
  • Preparing Parents for IEP Meetings
  • Year in Review
  • Understanding Evaluations, Tests & Measurements
  • Making the Case for Eligibility
  • Preparing a Case for Trial/Due Process
  • Drafting Due Process Claims/State Complaints
  • Advocate Concerns
  • Dispute Resolution and Settlements
  • Evidence Strategies Panel
  • Playing the IEP Game
  • School Discipline
  • Behavioral Issues in Schools
  • Strategies for Working with Schools
  • Alternatives to IDEA
  • Educational Rights of Homeless Youth
  • Sect. 504 & the ADA
  • The Gentle Art of Disagreeing
  • Transitions to Post-Secondary Education
  • Creating Systemic Change in Your State
  • Filing OCR Complaints


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 all ISEA course materials.

Registration Fees

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 "" 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 15, 2016 of no less than ten double-spaced pages to Professor Crystal Shin on a topic mutually agreed upon prior to August 5, 2016 .

Student tuition and fee information is found on this page: William & Mary students may register on-line prior to July 15, 2016 or when the course is full, whichever comes first.

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

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 July 30, 2016 - August 6, 2016 (should you wish to extend your stay in beautiful Colonial Williamsburg). The special room rate will be available until July 1, 2016 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:

Don't miss it! Fabulous speakers and networking opportunities. ~Michael Flom, NJ

 This training provided me with all of the knowledge, tools and confidence necessary to open a legal practice in education law. ~Michael Harper, PA

I entered ISEA 2015 with a passion for special education advocacy and left with a clear definition of my purpose and the knowledge, tools, and a wealth of resources to fulfill my purpose. I entered ISEA 2015 knowing "Who, What, When, and Where," and added the two most important factors, "Why and How." I now have the complete foundation on which to continue the never-ending building process. ~Ann Baldwin, SC

I would definitely recommend this program. The information that you leave with, along with the contacts of the staff is invaluable! ~Lori Wieder, OK

Attorneys, Advocates, Experts - this is THE course that allows you to to delve deeper into advocacy! You will learn about IEP development; be taught applicable laws for special education; advanced knowledge of ADA and disability civil rights; how to be a more effective advocate and not just a source of information; ways to instruct parents on effective strategies in working with schools without destroying or breaking down their relationship; and what a parent can do if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their advocacy efforts. ISEA - a week of learning for a life of advocating! ~Deborah Campbell, FL

This institute forces one to re-examine why one wants to do this work--and then gives one the tools to do it and do it well. ~Jenness Roth, TN

ISEA is special education on steroids! Sometimes we don't know what we don't know. After attending ISEA you will know what you need to know and how to learn it. ~Michael Drops, DE

The most important training available for a Special Education Attorney. ~Jane Windsor, FL

If you help kids and parents with special education issues, give yourself a gift, spend one week with people who know exactly what you do, how you do it, the challenges, the fears, the joys. You will come back refreshed and renewed. ~Michelle Peckham, MI

The ISEA 2015 conference is the most efficient way--short of law school--to get the highest quality, most comprehensive Special Education Advocate training possible. It validated and prepared me for the scope, the enormity, and the importance of the work that we as Parent Advocates do. The caliber of the presenters, their warmth, expertise, experience and genuine mentorship, fostered a binding camaraderie and a focused singleness of purpose among the diversity of Sped parents/attorneys from across the USA. ISEA was exactly the paradigm shift in experience I needed to prepare me to prepare parents to reach the purposes intended by Congress: to prepare children with disabilities for further education, employment, and independent living. So proud to be a Lieutenant in the Wrightslaw Army-- Don't miss this opportunity! ~Holland Rainey, VA

This training is excellent! It was great to be around people who fight and advocate for the same cause. The program prepares a competent advocate! ~ Annie Baghdayan, OK

Regardless of your level of experience, you will come away with more information and better skills than you had before. You will certainly come away with a network of teachers and mentors that you couldn't replicate anywhere. ~Beth Manes, NJ

It is an intensive week, but the knowledge gained is well worth it! I met several advocate peers that I stay in contact with for brainstorming. ~Nancy Gill, MD

isea 2015