LRP's Special Education School Attorneys Conference | February 1 - 4 The Westin Sarasota, Fla.

We are already hard at work planning the 2022 in-person conference.

For now, take a look below at the program from the 2021 virtual event to see the type of quality content you can expect at LRP’s Special Education School Attorneys Conference.


An Unprecedented Year in Review and Predictions
for Special Education Litigation in 2021

Jan Tomsky, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, Oakland, Calif.

Jan Tomsky,
Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, Oakland, Calif.

School closures, social distancing, recovery services, distance learning — 2020 was a year like no other as Jan Tomsky will review during the highly popular annual session that will bring you up to speed with the ever-changing world of special education law. Blending her unique wit with expert commentary, Jan will recap the must-know judicial decisions that could affect your everyday practice of special education law. Plus, she'll identify key litigation areas to watch for in 2021.

Compensatory Education and Extended School Year Services: The Hottest Topics of the New Decade

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

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

Special education attorneys heard the terms "compensatory education" and "extended school year services" tossed around in 2020 more than ever. Unfortunately, these terms were often being used incorrectly and imprecisely, showing that those in special education need to be more purposeful in how they conceptualize and communicate the concepts. The educational community needs to be equipped with a comprehensive understanding of when compensatory education and ESY services are necessary and appropriate. Just as important, school attorneys must prepare special education professionals to identify alternatives when the terms just don't fit a student's circumstances. In this not-to-be-missed session, Karen Haase will address the situations that justify the award of compensatory education and what form that award may take. She'll then pivot to ESY services, focusing on the guidance and case law addressing whether such services are necessary and appropriate.

Keep Calm and FAPE On: The Aftermath of COVID-19

Rachel Hitch, Schwartz and Shaw, PLLC, Raleigh, N.C.

Rachel Hitch,
Schwartz and Shaw, PLLC, Raleigh, N.C.

The year 2020 and COVID-19 brought predicaments to schools never before contemplated and only intensified the challenges of educating children with disabilities. Rachel Hitch will provide a historical overview of the development and evolution of guidance from governing agencies on how to proceed during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. She will also review cases that have arisen out of the pandemic and discuss common claims and defenses that appear in COVID-19 special education litigation. You will be provided practical advice for resolving procedural and substantive disputes related to COVID-19 issues and closures and recommendations for future planning in the event of similar or recurring extended school closures. Veteran attorneys and those new to the field will glean strategies for discussing pandemic-related issues at IEP and 504 meetings and for ensuring compliance with special education laws.

Ethics | Disclosure Exposure:
Records You Can, Can't, and Must Disclose

Betsey A. Helfrich, Mickes O'Toole, LLC, St. Louis, Mo.

Betsey A. Helfrich,
Mickes O'Toole, LLC, St. Louis, Mo.

The spotlight is on virtual instruction like never before. Back by popular demand, Betsey Helfrich will examine federal guidance regarding virtual instruction and the legal aspects school attorneys must consider when advising clients regarding implementation of virtual learning for special education students. She'll share tools and tips for assisting clients in maintaining compliance with IDEA and Section 504 and avoiding the legal pitfalls that can arise with digital learning environments. Plus, you'll learn what steps IEP teams must take when a student moves from a brick-and-mortar school to a full-time virtual environment or when a school introduces aspects of blended learning into classrooms.

Navigating Child Find Red Flags

Terry J. Harmon, Sniffen & Spellman, PA, Tallahassee, Fla.

Terry J. Harmon,
Sniffen & Spellman, PA, Tallahassee, Fla.

Child find continues to be a frequently litigated area of special education law. With extended school closures as a result of COVID-19, it's now even more critical that school districts properly track their efforts to identify, refer, and evaluate students suspected of: 1) having a disability; and 2) needing special education and related services. During this session, Terry Harmon will provide practical guidance, supported by recent case law, on how to navigate through child find issues that can arise during the school year.

Virtual Instruction and Special Education Students:
Lessons Learned From the Pandemic

Betsey A. Helfrich, Mickes O'Toole, LLC, St. Louis, Mo.

Betsey A. Helfrich,
Mickes O'Toole, LLC, St. Louis, Mo.

As education lawyers, we regularly advise clients regarding their records obligations. But what about us? Unfortunately, records and confidentiality issues faced by school attorneys rarely lend themselves to easy answers. Common questions include: What duty does an attorney have to bring information to the attention of other constituents within an entity when representing an organizational client? To what extent is the duty of confidentiality affected by the availability of information in public records or public knowledge? Further complicating ethical compliance is the fact that school attorneys often access information as a "school official" under FERPA, which imputes obligations in addition to those found in the Model Rules. Betsey Helfrich will dig into these issues and provide useful takeaways for every lawyer!