What kinds of matters do you take?
The vast majority of our matters involve educational issues for students who have or are eligible for an IEP. While we have represented families in more than 30 states, we primarily represent families in NYC, Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey. We also have represented many families who are moving to, or back to, the New York metropolitan area from other states or countries.
My child is not in the right program – what should I do?
The earlier you engage our firm, the faster we can begin to pursue your objectives while ensuring that you do all of the many things you need to do and avoid the kinds of pitfalls that can adversely affect your matter. In many instances, we are able to work on a consultation basis with families and help them achieve their goals without the need to engage in litigation. Where litigation is indicated, we lay the groundwork to file meritorious claims.
Why do I need a lawyer?
Unfortunately, the education system can make it very difficult for families to advocate on their own. We are able to assess your case, provide you with guidance at each step of the way, prepare your family for the IEP process, help your family identify appropriate school options and/or services, avoid potential pitfalls, and prepare your matter for litigation, if necessary. We work with our client families to make sure that the required notices are timely sent and that parents comply with their other obligations in the IEP process. Once we win or settle your case, our firm’s reimbursement specialist works with your family to recover your money for tuition and/or services from your school district until all of the funds have been paid.
Do you offer a free consultation?
Yes, your very first phone consultation will be with either Gary Mayerson or Maria McGinley, and another attorney, and is free. After that initial discussion to assess your matter, depending upon your objectives, we can offer your family a variety of appropriate engagement options.
How do you determine your fees?
The fees a client family will be charged vary and are designed to meet the complexity and other unique circumstances of the case. Factors we take into consideration include where the case would be filed, how far along you are in the process, what kind of support and counsel you require, the complexity of the anticipated claims, the complexity, and scope of your child’s educational program, the anticipated length of any hearing, and your family’s financial resources. Our fee structure is something that will be discussed with you at the outset after we have had an opportunity to discuss and take into account the above factors.
What kinds of engagements do you offer?
The amount a client family will be charged varies and is customized to meet the complexity and other unique circumstances of the case. In some cases, clients choose the option of an option of in-person, one-hour consultation where you have the opportunity to meet and brainstorm with two senior-level attorneys. Others utilize a flat fee consultation model, and others utilize our flat fee litigation structure. When clients have complex claims and educational programs, we have found it has been more cost-effective for families to have a flat fee. A flat fee litigation engagement includes all legal fees up until the second day of an Impartial Hearing.
Who will be the attorney working with our family?
Upon engaging our firm, an experienced attorney will be assigned to represent your family. That attorney will be your primary point of representation for all aspects of your case. In addition, Gary Mayerson and Maria McGinley supervise every client matter. Your team will also consist of Mauricio Bertone (our chief paralegal with more than fourteen years of experience), at least one additional paralegal, our office manager, and a reimbursement specialist. While you will be interfacing directly with your assigned attorney, you will have an entire team of dedicated professionals collaborating on your matter.
How long will the reimbursement process take?
The length of the reimbursement process varies. Assuming you prevail at a hearing or negotiate a favorable settlement, the issue of when you will actually begin receiving reimbursement funds depends on a number of factors including but not limited to: when you give your Ten Day Notice when your Demand for Due Process is filed, who from the DOE is assigned to your matter, the Impartial Hearing Officer assigned, how promptly the DOE responds to our requests, how quickly the Comptroller’s office approves a settlement, etc. Our team, spearheaded by the firm’s full-time reimbursement specialist, regularly follows up on each client matter in an effort to minimize any payment delays. We remain active in pursuit of your money until it is fully recovered and accounted for.
At what stage should I engage your firm?
Many clients will call after a problem is already in full bloom. Other clients anticipating trouble will call to engage us before problems arise. We believe in the benefits of early intervention. We prefer to be involved at the earliest stage so that we can help families avoid what can be costly or time-consuming mistakes.
Do you accept on Pro Bono matters?
We believe that it is every law firm’s responsibility to accept their fair share of pro bono matters. Not every family can afford to advance the funds needed to bring a reimbursement case. While most of the firm’s clients are paying clients, each year, we proudly represent on a pro bono or “low bono” basis a number of families who otherwise could not afford to engage counsel. We assess such situations on a case by case basis.