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

[2017 Program Materials]
Conference Speakers
John Comegno John Comegno
Founder and President of the Comegno Law Group, P.C., Moorestown, N.J.
John Comegno, Founder and President of the Comegno Law Group, P.C., is recognized nationally as a leading School Law practitioner, representing public and independent schools, Educational Services Commissions, Special Service School Districts, and third-party education vendors. A member of the bars of the State of New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and accepted to practice in jurisdictions across the country, John has extensive experience in all facets of School Law. John is a Cum Laude graduate of Gettysburg College, and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law. At Wake Forest, he served as Captain of the ATLA National Mock Trial Team, and was a member of the School of Law’s Moot Court and Honor Boards. John was also awarded the Order of Barristers, the CALI Award for excellence in Legal Research and Writing, and the Robert T. Goldberg Prize for Trial Advocacy and Ethics by the faculty of the School of Law.

Karen Haase Karen Haase
KSB School Law, P.C., L.L.O., Lincoln, Neb.
Karen Haase practices exclusively in the area of education law representing public school districts and other educational institutions. She frequently presents in-services and speaks to all manner of education groups. She graduated from the University of Nebraska School of Law with highest distinction and obtained an M.A. in political rhetoric from Kansas State University and a B.A. from Hastings College. She has authored several articles in academic journals and is a past president of the Nebraska Counsel of School Attorneys and a member of The National Counsel of School Attorneys and the Nebraska Bar Association. She is admitted to the U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Melinda Jacobs Melinda Jacobs
Law Office of Melinda Jacobs, Townsend, Tenn.
Melinda Jacobs, program chair of this conference, is an attorney in private practice in Knoxville, Tenn., and has worked in the field of special education law since 1985. She exclusively represents school systems in special education matters. She formerly served as an attorney in the Office of Special Education Programs for the Tennessee Department of Education and as associate publisher for Education and Disability Publications for LRP Publications. She is a member of the Special Education School Attorneys Advisory Council.

Michael Joyce Michael Joyce
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C., Marshfield, Mass.
Michael J. Joyce is a former public school teacher and currently an attorney with Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. specializing in general education and special education law in public schools. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Joyce served as a Civil Rights Attorney for the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), conducting investigations and trainings throughout New England concerning a wide range of civil rights concerns arising in public schools, including the enforcement of Section 504 and the federal statutes pertaining to harassment and discrimination based on race, color, national origin, gender and age. Before working for OCR, Mr. Joyce served as prosecuting attorney in the Gang Unit of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, conducting dozens of trials and evidentiary hearings with a specialized focus on gun violence and firearms prosecution. Mr. Joyce also served as a law clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Prior to pursuing a legal career, Mr. Joyce taught for three years in public elementary schools as a member of Teach for America during which time he was nominated for Teacher of the Year. Mr. Joyce graduated from Boston College Law School and holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. From 2008-2011, Mr. Joyce taught legal research and writing at Northeastern School of Law, and, since 2011, he has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Lynch School of Education and Boston College Law School where he teaches a graduate level course on education law and policy. Mr. Joyce has conducted dozens of presentations on educational law, including presentations to local, regional and national audiences.

Isabel Rocha Machado Isabel Rocha Machado
Machado Law Group, Clark, N.J.
Isabel Rocha Machado, Esq., is the founding partner of the Machado Law Group and has devoted her distinguished legal career to the practice of education law. Isabel's practice involves all aspects of education law, including litigation at all levels of state and federal courts and administrative agencies. Isabel is a dynamic and sought-after author and public speaker, who routinely conducts workshops and in-service programs for board of education members, school administrators and staff, and industry organizations. She has an in-depth background in special education law, board policy and administrative matters. Isabel focuses primarily on counseling and litigating on behalf of school districts with respect to employment and contract matters, labor negotiations and special education.
Dave Richards Dave Richards
Richards, Lindsay & Martín, LLP, Austin, Texas
Dave Richards’ practice focuses on the defense of school districts and special education cooperatives. He is a frequent presenter on Section 504 and special education at schools as well as state and national conferences including LRP’s Institute. Dave consults with a variety of state departments of education, and has provided statewide Section 504 training for the state departments of education of Arkansas, New Mexico, and Hawaii. He writes frequently for LRP subscription products and is the author of LRP’s The Top Section 504 Errors: Expert Guidance to Avoid Common Compliance Mistakes (2010) and coauthor of LRP’s 2006 IDEA Final Part B Regulations: What You Need to Know (2006). He also is featured in the LRP video The Dos and Don’ts of Section 504: Step-by-Step Training to Ensure Compliance (2004).

Alisia St. Florian Alisia St. Florian
Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, Quincy, Mass.
Ms. St. Florian is a partner in the firm's Special Education Law Group, representing school districts in special education disputes. Ms. St. Florian received her Bachelor's degree from Bates College, her Master's degree in Education in Counseling Psychology from Boston University and her Juris Doctor, with honors, from Suffolk University Law School. While in law school, Ms. St. Florian was a member of the Moot Court Honor Board and published in the Suffolk Journal of Trial and Appellate Advocacy. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. St. Florian worked for five years as a Victim/Witness Advocate in the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Child Abuse Unit, and for seven years in a general civil litigation firm where part of her practice included the representation of children and parents in special education matters. Ms. St. Florian has been appointed by the Norfolk County Juvenile Court to serve as a Guardian ad Litem/Educational Advocate and by the Department of Education to serve as an Educational Surrogate Parent.

Jan Tomsky Jan Tomsky
Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, L.L.P., Oakland, Calif.
Jan E. Tomsky is the managing partner of the firm, and serves clients from the firm’s Oakland, California office. She has an extensive practice involving student matters, with a particular emphasis in special education and student discipline. She represents school districts in mediations and due process hearings, as well as in special education-related litigation in state and federal courts, including the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jan also is a frequent presenter at state, regional, and national conferences. Jan received her Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She also holds a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis in student development and special education, from Dominican University of San Rafael, California.

Julie Weatherly Julie Weatherly
Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, Ala.
Julie J. Weatherly, Esq. is the owner of Resolutions in Special Education, Inc. with offices and attorneys in Alabama and Florida. Julie is a member of the State Bars of Alabama and Georgia, and for almost 30 years, has provided legal representation and consultative services to school districts and other agencies in the area of educating students with disabilities. She has been a member of the faculty for many national and state legal institutes and is a frequent speaker at special education law conferences. Julie has developed a number of videotape training series on special education law and has been published nationally as a part of her trainings, workshops and seminars. She is the author of the legal update article for the National CASE quarterly newsletter and is a member of LRP’s Special Education Attorneys Advisory Council. In June of 1996, Julie appeared with Leslie Stahl on CBS news program “60 Minutes” to discuss the cost of meeting the legal requirements of the IDEA. In 1998, she was honored by Georgia’s Council for Exceptional Children as Georgia’s Individual who had Contributed Most to Students with Disabilities, and in April 2012, Julie received the National CASE Award for Outstanding Service.
School Attorneys