Special Education

Schools must ensure that each student’s educational needs are met while staying within the confines of the law and their budgets. As they strive to provide special education services, often difficult circumstances arise. 

Best Best & Krieger LLP’s education attorneys have a track record of helping school districts navigate these complex and often emotional situations, and doing so in a manner that is fair, reasonable and within our clients’ budgets.

Comprehensive Service
Our attorneys regularly advise on and represent school districts regarding a wide variety of special education issues arising under California law and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including:

  • Compliance with state and federal laws 
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • California Department of Education compliance complaints
  • Office for Civil Rights Investigations
  • Eligibility determinations and accommodations/facilities modifications
  • Individualized Education Assessments 
  • IEP-related services and behavior plans
  • Least restrictive environment placement
  • Free and Appropriate Public Education issues
  • Comprehensive risk avoidance and litigation prevention strategies
  • Obligations to students placed in charter schools, private schools, residential treatment centers and other nonconventional educational programs


Further, we assist schools and school districts in establishing and implementing special education-related policies, procedures and manuals. We offer legal opinions and provide customized training programs to help assure legal compliance and minimize the risk of exposure to litigation. 

Extensive Experience Clients In and Out of Court
BB&K education attorneys have extensive experience in effectively representing clients in IEP meetings, resolution meetings, mediations, due process hearings resulting from parent complaints filed with the California Office of Administrative Hearings, and appeals of due process hearings before federal district and appellate courts. Our attorneys have successfully represented school districts in due process hearings and appellate matters on a wide range of issues, including eligibility, appropriateness of assessments, least restrictive environment, autism methodology, requests for reimbursement for nonpublic schools and residential placements, and attorneys’ fees requests.

We are also recognized for our knowledge and experience in resolving issues involving the ADA and our attorneys have successfully defended and negotiated appropriate resolutions to IEP- and ADA-related compliance complaints filed with the California Department of Education, as well as complaints of discrimination based on disability with the federal Office for Civil Rights.

Lauri A. Arrowsmith

Lauri A. Arrowsmith

Of Counsel

(949) 263-6564

Areas of Focus: Education Law | Education Litigation | Public Finance | Special Education
Jack B. Clarke

Jack B. Clarke

Partner

(951) 826-8233

Areas of Focus: Board Governance & Administration | Business Services & School Facilities | Charter Schools | Education Law | Education Litigation | Special Education
Maria E. Gless

Maria E. Gless

Partner

(951) 826-8333

Areas of Focus: Education | Education Law | Education Litigation | Special Education | Student Affairs
Dina O. Harris

Dina O. Harris

Partner

(619) 525-1340

Areas of Focus: Board Governance & Administration | Business Services & School Facilities | Charter Schools | Education Law | Special Education | Student Affairs
Cathy S. Holmes

Cathy S. Holmes

Partner

(951) 826-8218

Areas of Focus: Board Governance & Administration | Business Services & School Facilities | Charter Schools | Education Law | Special Education | Student Affairs
Dorothy R. McLaughlin

Dorothy R. McLaughlin

Of Counsel

(951) 826-8463

Areas of Focus: Education Law | Special Education
Cassandra J. Owen

Cassandra J. Owen

Paralegal*

(951) 826-8250

Areas of Focus: Education Law | Education Litigation | Special Education
Karen L. Van Dijk

Karen L. Van Dijk

Partner

(949) 263-6563

Areas of Focus: Education Law | Education Litigation | Eminent Domain | Public Agency Litigation | Special Education | Student Affairs

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