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

Litigating Due Process Cases: Using Trial Skills to Effectively Present Your Case

Stadler Ronald S. Stadler, Mallery Zimmerman SC, Milwaukee, Wis.

An attorney with experience defending school districts before administrative tribunals, courts, juries, and arbitrators will share tried-and-true strategies and techniques for making a case. Describing litigation tactics, skills, and perspectives that apply to due process hearings, Ron Stadler will walk you through step-by-step and skill-by-skill how to be persuasive both before and during the hearing. From answering the complaint, to making prehearing motions, to handling exhibits, he'll share tips you can immediately incorporate. And, you'll learn how to posture for an appeal if one is required. Whether you're a veteran or novice litigator, you can't afford to miss this session!
1 - 4 p.m.

Be Your Clients' "FERPA Sherpa":
Carrying FERPA Compliance Into the 21st Century

Haase Karen A. Haase, KSB School Law, PC, LLO, Lincoln, Neb.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act predates email, social media, apps, and other technology common in public education today. So how do districts balance the act's requirements with the complex information demands of 2019? Blending her unique wit with expert commentary, Karen Haase will tackle these issues as well as how to reconcile campus record management software with record retention policies. She'll detail FERPA considerations when districts interact with law enforcement, use video and security recordings in the discipline context, and operate in an era where stakeholders expect instant information. You'll leave this symposium ready to better serve your clients when it comes to spoliation, litigation holds, electronic record management, and much, much more.
8 - 10 a.m.

The Year in Review 2018 (and a Look Ahead to 2019)

Weatherly Julie J. Weatherly, Resolutions in Special Education, Inc., Mobile, Ala.

This highly popular, fast-paced session offers an instructive and entertaining overview of the most important cases decided during 2018. Julie Weatherly will share her expert insights on the potential impact of the cases for special education practitioners and her predictions for hot litigation trends in 2019.
10:15 - 11:15 a.m.

Ethical Obligations During Settlement and Dispute Resolution

Wright Brandon K. Wright, Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd., Monticello, Ill.

Special education law is growing more complex, adversarial, and litigious. Join Brandon Wright as he addresses approaches school attorney can take to properly handle the most common ethical challenges arising during settlement and dispute resolution. Referencing the ABA Model Rules, he'll review confidentiality, waivers of claims clauses, disclosures to hearing officers, unrepresented parents, and other ethical issues of concern during settlement and resolution sessions.
11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

A Kinder, Gentler OCR? Tools and Strategies for Responding to Complaints Under OCR's Case Processing Manual

Garner David D. Garner, Osborn Maledon, Phoenix, Ariz.
Gaberdiel Chelsea Gaberdiel, BASIS.ed, Scottsdale, Ariz.

David Garner and Chelsea Gaberdiel will highlight the major changes to OCR's 2018 Case Processing Manual, which are generally considered to be favorable to schools. They'll cover the expanded list of reasons for pre-investigation dismissals of a complaint; the new landscape for opening, investigating, and resolving discrimination claims; and legal and practical considerations for managing an OCR investigation. You’ll leave with practical take-away lessons from recent, real-life OCR investigations.
1:45 - 3 p.m.

There's a New Standard of FAPE — Fact or Fiction?

Bowen Dianna Bowen, Thompson Horton LLP, Dallas, Texas

Courts across the country are construing Endrew F., and the Department of Education has shared its interpretation of this landmark decision. The question is: Has FAPE changed? Dianna Bowen will bring you up to speed on the key FAPE decisions from all 11 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, and many other cases decided since the Supreme Court's 2017 unanimous ruling. Ms. Bowen will underscore the lessons learned so you can advise districts on developing “appropriately ambitious” programming, documenting circumstances that may be limiting a student’s progress, defining the role of evaluators, and more!
3:15 - 4:30 p.m.

Battle of the Experts: Effectively Using and Challenging Experts in Special Education Litigation

Kinsey-Sallis LaKisha M. Kinsey-Sallis, Johnson Jackson LLC, Tampa, Fla.

Determining whether a student received FAPE is not an exact science and often involves the use of expert witnesses. LaKisha Kinsey-Sallis will prepare you for situations where the complexity of the student's disability requires the involvement of an expert or where school officials' judgments are challenged by experts retained by the opposition. Citing to recent cases, she'll compare different approaches to using expert witnesses and highlight nuances that made one approach a better litigation strategy than another. Plus, she’ll highlight considerations to keep in mind regarding expert qualifications, experience, and credibility.
8 - 9:15 a.m.

School Violence and Special Education

Karen Haase Jocelyn P. Kramer, Weiss Burkardt Kramer LLC, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The special education law practitioner must be skilled in responding to inquiries regarding students who are involved in actual or threatened incidents of school violence. Jocelyn Kramer will provide a renewed look at school-based mental health services and interventions for students with disabilities who are either the victims or perpetrators of threats of school violence or other underlying violations of a school's code of conduct. You’ll learn response options for the most common questions posed by schools during a perceived or rumored threat while maintaining compliance with special education laws and regulations.
9:30 - 10:45 a.m.

The Attorney’s Role in Managing School Policy on Discrimination

Brandon K. Wright Brandon K. Wright, Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd., Monticello, lll.

Districts must keep on their toes when it comes to compliance with anti-discrimination policies and practices because frequently findings of violations by OCR results from a failure to have or to follow an appropriate policy. Brandon Wright will focus on the important policy requirements related to disability discrimination, how to effectively implement them, and how to conduct the right investigation to ensure the right response long before an OCR complaint has been filed. He'll review OCR decisions which focus on the "procedure" followed or not followed; offer practical tips for advising schools on discrimination claims; and share litigation strategies you can use with your clients.
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Prior Written Notice: Please Write It Now!

Haase Karen A. Haase, KSB School Law, PC, LLO, Lincoln, Neb.

Too often attorneys and educators consider prior written notice to be an annoying compliance hurdle rather than a litigation tool to help avoid or successfully defend due process complaints. Karen Haase will explain the PWN triggers you should know and the school attorney's role in this important process. You’ll take away practical tips to help you change the narrative around PWN requirements and insights on how compliance can preclude predetermination claims and prove the district has provided FAPE
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Always on Call — The School Attorney's Guide to Texts, Emails, and Late-Night Phone Calls

Bowen Dianna Bowen, Thompson Horton LLP, Dallas,

The ABA Model Rules are evolving with the ever-changing use of technology and the practice of special education law. Cell phones, electronic communications, and social media are more than a mere technological convenience for attorneys — they are the key tools used by our clients and the world. Dianna Bowen will review the ethics rules governing attorney communications, identify business practices that may create risks for waiver of the attorney-client privilege, and share advice on how to reduce ethical dilemmas in this ever-changing and fast-paced virtual world.
2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

Title IX in the #MeToo Era

Delaney David M. Delaney, Dell Salter, Gainesville, Fla.

The contours of the right to access an education free from sexual discrimination and harassment is at the forefront of a national dialogue. Now is the time to recognize red flag scenarios that may involve students with disabilities and lead to time-consuming and expensive litigation. David Delaney will describe how to investigate and prepare for the defense of Title IX claims as they expand into the K-12 special education setting.