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IEPs and 504 plans are essential tools to ensure positive learning outcomes for many students. They also have the potential to cause legal issues for schools if they aren't properly planned and carried out. Get a comprehensive overview of legal liabilities in IEPs and 504 plans from our experienced faculty. Take away valuable information you can use to spot potential issues in your school's IEP and 504 plan process. Order today!
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MELISSA J. AMSTER is the founder of Amster Law Firm, where she practices in special education and disability law. She represents individuals with special needs in special education and community services matters, including regional center and in-home supportive services. Ms. Amster has gained extensive experience in advocacy while advocating for her daughter, who was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect. She served as a volunteer and temporary Clients’ Right Advocate with the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy, Disability Rights California, where she focused on evaluating regional center eligibility, securing appropriate placements, and analyzing and giving legal advice regarding notices of action from the regional center. Ms. Amster is a member of Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) and the South Bay Down Syndrome Association. She earned her B.A. degree, with honors, from the University of California, Riverside and her J.D. degree from Southern University School of Law, where she was on the dean’s list, active in the Student Bar Association and the recipient of a public interest grant. Ms. Amster was admitted to the California Bar in 2001 and is admitted to practice before all California State courts, the U.S. District Court and Bankruptcy Court. (Pasadena location)
SOPHIA BLIZIOTIS is an attorney with Newman Aaronson Vanaman LLP, where she practices in the area of special education law. She is received her undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and her J.D. degree from Southwestern Law School. (Pasadena location)
DAVID W. GERMAN is an attorney with Newman Aaronson Vanaman LLP, where he represents individuals and families in a broad range of disability rights and education matters. A substantial part of his practice involves appellate litigation. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania; and his J.D., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Southern California. During law school, Mr. German participated in the Children’s Legal Issues Clinic. He also served as a judicial extern for both the Honorable Margaret M. Morrow of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Mr. German received USC Law’s Edward and Eleanor Shattuck Award, the USC Public Interest Law Foundation Student of the Year Award, and the State Bar of California Wiley W. Manuel Award. He was also named a graduate fellow of the USC Center for Law, History, and Culture and served as the managing editor of the Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. After graduating from law school, Mr. German completed his Ph.D. degree in philosophy while working as a habeas corpus law clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. His dissertation focused on issues in professional ethics faced by attorneys whose work is dedicated to civil rights and social change. (Pasadena location)
DAVID M. GREY is a partner with the law firm of Grey & Grey, in Santa Monica. Mr. Grey is an experienced special education attorney who has successfully handled numerous due process hearings and appeals in state and federal court. A significant number of his cases involve those in danger of being seriously hurt if not properly served by the school. He has a growing interest in using civil rights laws to obtain injunctive relief and damages beyond what is provided for under IDEA. Mr. Grey has recovered more than two million dollars from schools that have violated the civil rights of students with disabilities to an education. Most recently he was successful in convincing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse summary judgment against two of his clients in K.M. ex rel. Bright v. Tustin Unified School Dist, 725 F.3d 1088 (9th Cir. 2013)(cert. denied). The Ninth Circuit made clear that compliance with IDEA does not foreclose rights available under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Santa Ana and Pasadena locations)
LINDA HEMMES GRIFFITH is a solo practitioner in Sun Valley. She is a member of the State Bar of California (member, Law Practice Management, Solo & Small Firm and Public Law sections). Ms. Griffith earned her undergraduate degree from Eastern College and her J.D. degree from Chapman University. (Santa Ana location)
ERIC MENYUK is an attorney with Newman Aaronson Vanaman LLP, where he advocates for children’s education rights. Mr. Menyuk received his J.D. degree from Loyola Law School and he spent the next 10 years as a trial lawyer and has tried a number of cases in both state and federal court.
SUZANNE N. SNOWDEN is a partner with SJM Law Group. She dedicates her career to representing children with disabilities and their families. Ms. Snowden has extensive trial experience in administrative proceedings. Ms. Snowden currently practices before the Office of Administrative Hearings, the United States District Court, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals representing families with special needs children in educational actions involving the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement in Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Ms. Snowden also provides informational seminars on special education to parent groups and interested parties. She was lieutenant governor for the American Bar Association Law School Division. Ms. Snowden was also awarded the State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manual Award for her work in public interest, was named in the Who’s Who in American Law Student, and received The Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. She earned her B.A. degree from University of California, Los Angeles and her J.D. degree from Southwestern University School of Law. (Pasadena location)
TANIA L. WHITELEATHER is the principle of the Tania L. Whiteleather Law Offices, in Lakewood. Since 1989, she has practiced in the areas of special education law, family law, probate, and estate planning. Ms. Whiteleather earned her B.A. degree from California State University at Long Beach and her J.D. degree from Western State University School of Law. (Santa Ana location)