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The laws governing special education interact in confusing and sometimes contradictory ways, yet it is crucial that schools have a firm understanding of them in order to protect the rights of students and avoid legal difficulties. This comprehensive overview lays out all the legal requirements surrounding IEP development, discipline procedures, due process hearing requirements and more. It also highlights the mistakes other schools have made, so you can ensure your school properly delivers legally appropriate special education services that help students succeed - 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.
SOPHIA BLIZIOTIS is an attorney with Newman Aaronson Vanaman LLP, where she practices in the area of special education law. She received her undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and her J.D. degree from Southwestern Law School.
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 ten years as a trial lawyer and has tried a number of cases in both state and federal court.
MIHO MURAI is a solo practitioner in Los Angeles, California, where she represents families in special education law, immigration law, adoptions, guardianships, juvenile delinquency, and dependency (children in foster care). Ms. Murai has worked and externed at numerous nonprofit organizations, including Legal Services for Children, National Center for Youth Law, Asian Law Caucus, Sacramento Child Advocates, and Public Counsel Law Center, as well as the San Francisco Public Defender's Office. Ms. Murai has been representing families of children with disabilities through participation in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and Section 504 meetings, and filing due process complaints and state compliance complaints since 2008. Ms. Murai is the vice president of the Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance, and is the membership coordinator and treasurer for the California Association for Parent-Child Advocacy. She is a member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, the Southern California Special Education Task Force, and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. From 2010 to 2014, she served as an appointed member of the Office of Administrative Hearings, Special Education Advisory Committee. Ms. Murai is a member of the Los Angeles Juvenile Court Education Panel, where she is regularly appointed to represent students with disabilities who are in the foster care system or who have an active juvenile delinquency case. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her J.D. degree from the University of California Hastings College of Law.
SURISA E. RIVERS is the senior special education attorney and founder at Rivers Law Office, where she helps students with disabilities to fully access and enjoy their education. Ms. Rivers has devoted the majority of her career to advancing the educational rights of students with disabilities. She has successfully represented hundreds of students with disabilities against school districts all over Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and Ventura counties. Ms. Rivers earned her undergraduate degree from Pepperdine University and her J.D. degree from Rutgers University School of Law.January 17 - January 18, Loma Linda
SARAH M. GROSS is a special education attorney at Rivers Law Office. She represents students with disabilities toward obtaining genuine access to their education. Ms. Gross has successfully handled numerous special education matters on behalf of students throughout Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. Her practice includes cases involving a wide range of disabilities and educational needs, but particularly focusing on early childhood education, autism spectrum disorders, speech and language impairments, behavioral issues, and vision and hearing impairments. Ms. Gross earned her B.A. degree, magna cum laude and with departmental honors, from University of Redlands; and her J.D. degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
VIVIAN MCPAYAH-OBIAMALU is an attorney with Obiamalu Law Firm, where she has more than 25 years of practical experience. In her distinguished career, Ms. Obiamalu has worked for the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office and the Alternate Public Defender for Los Angeles County. Her core practice areas are healthcare law, criminal defense, special education and employment discrimination. Ms. Obiamalu is also the CEO of a healthcare provider.
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.