LRP’s Special Education School Attorneys Conference, January 14 - 16, 2016, Hilton Austin, Texas REGISTER

Agenda At-A-Glance
7 - 8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Strategies and Techniques for Settling Special Education Disputes
and Drafting Agreements
Jose Martín Jose Martín, Richards, Lindsay & Martín, LLP, Austin, Texas

An attorney with experience resolving hundreds of special education disputes shares his tried-and-true strategies and techniques, including using alternatives to traditional mediation formats, employing the separate caucus approach, working with clients to overcome entrenched attitudes and personalization of disputes, and preparing for the opposing party’s demands. Jose Martín will detail strategies for the presentation of counteroffers, techniques for resolving difficult issues with independent evaluations, and tactics for negotiating release terms. You’ll also learn ways you can enlist the assistance of the mediator, and address and resolve attorney’s fees claims. You’ll leave with sample settlement language and proven drafting techniques tailored to guide you through writing specific, clear and complete settlement agreements.
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch on your own
1 - 4 p.m.

Preparing for Life After School:
The Legal Ins and Outs of IDEA Transition Planning
Teri Engler Teri Engler, Engler Callaway Baasten & Sraga, LLC,
Oak Brook, lll.

What does case law tell us about how hearing officers and the courts have been interpreting the IDEA’s transition-related provisions? How should you counsel your school district clients about compliance with the IDEA’s transition planning requirements in the wake of Endrew F.? Attorney Teri Engler will address these questions during this in-depth review of the legal requirements and trends in this critical and highly litigated area of special education law. She’ll take you through the most common transition-related issues involving evaluation, goal-writing, services, placement/LRE, graduation and “stay-put.” She will explain the extent to which a district must involve a participating agency in the IEP meeting, who’s responsible when a public agency fails to provide or pay for special education services, and districts’ obligations when potential employers and other entities needed for transition aren’t locally available.
7 - 8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8 - 10 a.m.

The Year in Review 2017 and a Look Ahead to 2018
Melinda Jacobs Melinda Jacobs, Law Office of Melinda Jacobs, Townsend, Tenn.

This highly popular, fast-paced session offers an instructive and entertaining overview of the most important cases decided during 2017, including decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court. Melinda Jacobs will share her expert insights on the potential impact of the cases for special education practitioners and her predictions for hot litigation trends in 2018.
10 - 10:15 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Ethical Issues in Litigating Special Education Matters
Sara Hardner Leon Sara Hardner Leon, Powell & Leon, LLP, Austin, Texas

The Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure prohibit a lawyer from submitting anything to a court without certifying the facts after a “reasonable inquiry.” In special education, this often means analyzing a student’s education program. Attorneys Sara Hardner Leon and Andrew Tatgenhorst will examine the scope of this duty as it relates to student documentation and consultation with education experts. Plus, you’ll hear about other ethical dilemmas unique to the field, such as whether lawyers can make judgment calls as to the reasonableness of an education program, to what extent board members should be involved in decision-making, and whether counsel should share legal analysis with IEP team members.
11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Prescription for Trouble: Handling Medical Issues in Special Education
Brandon K. Wright Brandon K. Wright, Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd., Monticello, lll.

School health services and school nursing services for chronically ill students present an increasing challenge for school districts. Brandon K. Wright will outline the framework for proper decision-making by schools based upon the case law under the IDEA and Section 504 for students with high medical needs. You’ll learn who can provide these services and the common sticking points when it comes to determining what must be provided for FAPE. And, you’ll take away proactive and practical solutions to share with your clients when working with parents and medical providers.
12:30 - 1:45 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:45 - 3 p.m.

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but FAPE Will Never Desert Me
Karen Haase Karen Haase, KSB School Law, P.C., L.L.O., Lincoln, Neb.

Technology changes faster than the law, and schools are left to interpret their legal obligations using outdated terms and processes. When technology and special education intersect, you get the call inquiring if measures need to be taken beyond those in the school's anti-bullying policies. The response matters if the student alleges a denial of FAPE or that the school acted with deliberate indifference. Karen Haase will take a fresh look at OSERS and OCR guidance on cyberbullying. She’ll also examine state and federal litigation on the issue as well as the conflict between federal disability law and state statutes. Take back to your districts this social media expert’s advice on how to respond when a student with a disability experiences cyberbullying, and steps to take when the bully is a student with a Section 504 plan or IEP.
3 - 3:15 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Legal Issues in Addressing Trauma in Educational Programming
William J. Zee William J. Zee, Barley Snyder, Lancaster, Pa.

School attorneys are increasingly faced with difficult questions from schools regarding the intersection of trauma-informed education practices and legal obligations to students under Section 504 and the IDEA. Get valuable tips for effectively navigating this hot topic. William Zee will review recent cases addressing student trauma, including the P.P. v. Compton Unified School District class action, and the importance of applying trauma-informed practices when appropriately addressing individual student needs. You will receive practical pointers designed to aid clients in responding to incidents involving trauma-related behaviors, as well as specific suggestions and best-practices recommendations for incorporating accommodations and supports related to student trauma histories in light of applicable legal requirements.
7 - 8:30 a.m. Networking Breakfast
8 - 9:15 a.m.

Blurred Lines: The Concentric Circle Explanation of IDEA and 504 Is No More
Karen Haase Karen Haase, KSB School Law, P.C., L.L.O., Lincoln, Neb.

School attorneys often describe rights under federal disability laws using visualization such as concentric circles. They’ve long relied on Letter to McKethan and similar decisions when informing clients that districts that meet their IDEA obligations also satisfy their Section 504 obligations to students. But that explanation may no longer be accurate given recent decisions that held districts have ADA obligations to fulfill. Given the Supreme Court’s decision in Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, it’s even clearer that districts must analyze possible services and accommodations under all three federal laws. Karen Haase will highlight areas where districts should be particularly aware of divergent obligations, such as physical access, extracurriculars and communications. Plus, she’ll provide practical responses to document compliance.
9:15 - 9:30 a.m. Refreshment Break
9:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Preparing for Progress: The IEP in a Post-Endrew F. World
Brandon K. Wright Brandon K. Wright, Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd., Monticello, lll.

After the Supreme Court’s decision in Endrew F., IEP teams need to have a renewed understanding of what it means to "reasonably calculate" what "appropriate progress" looks like for each student with a disability. And they’ll turn to you, their school attorney, for legal compliance. Brandon Wright will guide you through Endrew F. (and its progeny) and point out ways to help your clients show the substantive appropriateness of the IEP. You’ll learn tips to head off litigation that aims to test the new FAPE standard.
10:45 - 11 a.m. Refreshment Break
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Student Data Privacy in Special Education
Teri Engler Teri Engler, Engler Callaway Baasten & Sraga, LLC, Oak Brook, lll.

Numerous privacy, confidentiality and security issues can be sparked when schools use computer hardware and software, mobile apps, and web- and cloud-based tools for progress monitoring and evaluation to provide FAPE and to store special education student data. Attorney Teri Engler will provide an overview of current requirements for ensuring student data privacy and security — including those related to FERPA, CIPA and COPPA. Plus, you’ll learn the legal issues that arise with the implementation of technologies commonly used for evaluating, serving and storing information about students with disabilities. Come discover the elements of sound policies and procedures and of contracts with third-party online vendors to ensure that districts meet their data privacy obligations — as well as practical suggestions for school district audits of technology use in special education.
12:15 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Forcing a Square Peg Into a Round Hole: A Reminder That One Size Does Not Fit All
Alisia St. Florian Alisia St. Florian, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, Quincy, Mass.

With all the procedural and substantive requirements of special education laws, it can feel like a trap for school-based teams trying to do their best with limited resources. Ethical dilemmas for IEP teams often arise, such as what to do when a district agrees to a settlement but then does not follow through or sign the agreement; how to respond when a private evaluator recommends technology the district doesn’t have available; or what to do when a parent requests services or placement but the IEP team leader says the issue needs to be discussed with the special ed director. As the attorney representing the district, you want to help your client while at the same time ensuring everyone stays within the bounds of legal requirements. Alisia St. Florian will explain the ethical obligations according to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

Building a Case for the Recovery of Attorney's Fees
Andrew Tatgenhorst Andrew Tatgenhorst, Underwood Law Firm, Austin, Texas

School attorneys should always be cognizant of potential attorney’s fees claims, and it’s never too early to start making a case for recovering fees from both parents and attorneys. Beginning at the administrative level, counsel can develop the appropriate counter-claims and findings of fact. Attorney Andrew Tatgenhorst will provide the framework. Analyzing recent case law, they will bring you up to speed on when a claim is considered “frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation,” and when it’s filed for an improper purpose. You’ll leave readied with the knowledge of what amount of fees is reasonable and what activities are compensable.
School Attorneys