Special Education Law Career Guide

by Paul Hellyer
Updated May 2023

Children Boarding School BusBooks

Richard L. Hermann, The Education Sector: Overwhelmed by the Law (2017).
Practical advice about the job market in this practice area.
Publisher's Description
KF299 .E38 H47 2017 V.9 (Office of Career Services)


Todd Carney, How Increased Legal Representation Can Close the Gap in Special Education Discrepancies, 37 Touro L. Rev. 21 (2021). Explains how increased legal representation can close the gap in special education discrepancies between white and minority students. 

Kevin Golembiewski, Recent Law School Grads: I'm a Special Education Attorney, Please Join Me, Legal Intelligencer, June 22, 2018, at 5.
A recent law school grad explains how he entered this practice area and describes his work.

Catherine L. Lyons, Emerging Trends in Special Education Law and Litigation, Aspatore, Oct. 2013.
A special education lawyer discusses the relevant law and offers advice to other practitioners.

Caitlin Peterson, Diary of a Part-Time Special Education Lawyer, ABA Law Student Podcast, June 7, 2018.
In this podcast interview, a special education lawyer talks about her work and offers advice for law students interested in this practice area. A transcript is available.

Amanda Selogie, Starting a Niche Practice: Fit that Round Peg in the Square Hole, GP Solo, July-Aug. 2018, at 20.
The author relates her experiences in starting a new small law firm focused on special education law.

Mary Ellen Sowyrda, Practicing Special Education Law: The Perspective of One Public School Attorney, Aspatore, Oct. 2013.
A special education lawyer describes her career and gives an overview of the legal issues.

Morgan N. Zankich, Mediation in Special Education Law: The Necessity for Attorney Representation, 70 Dispute Resolution J. 141 (2015).
Explains the role attorneys play in mediation between schools and parents.

Organizations & Websites

American Bar Association, Commission on Disability Rights
1050 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Ste. 400
Washington, DC 20036
tel: 202-662-1570
email: cdr@americanbar.org 
The ABA's Commission on Disability Rights represents the interests of disabled attorneys and law students, as well as attorneys working in the field of disability law, including special education. Their website includes access to the Commission's newsletter and a law students resources page.

Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
P. O. Box 6767
Towson, Maryland 21285
tel: 844-426-7224
"COPAA’s mission is to be a national voice for special education rights and to promote excellence in advocacy. Our primary goal is to secure high quality educational services for children with disabilities." --From the website.

National Disability Rights Network
820 1st St. N.E., Ste. 740
Washington, DC 20002
tel: 202-408-9514
email: info@ndrn.org
"NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States." --From the website.

Special Education Advocacy Law Clinic
William & Mary School of Law
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795
tel: 757-221-5735
email: pele@wm.edu 
William & Mary Law School's Special Education Advocacy Law Clinic offers students the opportunity to gain experience representing special-needs children and their families.

Photo:  Associated Press