Feinstein Education Law Group
Representing parents and students throughout Connecticut.
Contact Us If You Think We Can Help 860-969-0086

Why Hire Us?

Can't I represent myself?

You can, but it would be a mistake. Parents bringing due process actions themselves, called pro se, win very infrequently, while due process actions brought by lawyers on behalf of parents succeed about 50% of the time. A due process action needs to be properly prepared, often for weeks in advance of filing. You stand the best chance of getting what your child needs if you start working with an attorney early in the process.

Can't I use an advocate? They cost a lot less than lawyers.

Advocates serve a very important role in the process, which is why the Feinstein Education Law Group offers special education advocate services. Advocates are very good at working with parents to determine what an appropriate program and placement would look like. They help parents set effective and realistic goals. And, advocates can serve as important personal support in PPT meetings. Yet, when it comes to confronting the district, you need a lawyer. You need a lawyer to represent you in mediation, when your legal rights are compromised in any mediation agreement. And you need a lawyer to set up and bring a due process action.

Why hire the Feinstein Education Law Group? Aren't there other good lawyers around?

There are. But, the fact is that there are very few lawyers in Connecticut with the experience and expertise necessary to help parents win appropriate educations for their children. Some well known special education lawyers in Connecticut are overly eager to settle without going to a hearing. Not us. We are glad to litigate if we need to do so. In every case, we work with our clients to evaluate whether what the district offers in settlement discussions is as good or better than we are likely to obtain if we go through a full hearing. We do not use fixed price retainer agreements, which create an incentive for the lawyer to push the client to a quick settlement. Furthermore, when you work with an attorney at the Feinstein Education Law Group you work with them directly. You do not speak to paralegals or secretaries or advocates.

How much is this going to cost me?

The perennial lawyer's answer is "it depends," but we start with a retainer of $4,000, payable by check or credit card upon signing an agreement for representation. We begin with the realistic expectation that, in all but the least complicated matters, the clients should expect to pay at least double that amount by the conclusion of the case. Attorney Feinstein charges $450 per hour, Attorney Dunn and Attorney Griswold charge $300 per hour. To review the file, talk with parents and experts, prepare a request for due process, schedule a prehearing and mediation, and attend mediation generally takes between 25 and 30 hours. Most cases in which we file for due process settle at mediation or in negotiations shortly thereafter. If the case does not settle on terms satisfactory to you and the case goes to a hearing, you can expect the hearing to last 8 to 12 days. We generally put in 12 to 15 hours for each day of hearing (that includes the actual time in the hearing) to prepare witnesses and questions. And, a posthearing brief will generally take 20 to 30 hours. If we prevail at the hearing, the school district will be obligated to pay attorney fees. Because the cost of fighting for your child's rights is so high, should your case go to hearing we are willing to discuss payment plans and adjustments, based on your own needs.

Do you take cases on contingency?

No. Contingent fee arrangements are available when there is a sum of money that can be won. In personal injury cases in Connecticut, the lawyer receives, generally, one-third of the amount recovered. Such a system does not work for special education. The relief we seek is often extra services, designation, or an appropriate placement. There is no monetary recovery to split up at the end. And, due process cases are substantially more complicated than personal injury actions.

Do you charge for travel?

No. We help parents and students all over Connecticut and do no bill for travel time.

How long will this process take?

Once your case is ready to be filed, we will get it filed quickly, after we agree on a statement of the case to trigger the process. The law then sets a 30-day time period for resolution sessions or mediation. After that, the hearing officer has 45 days to hear the case and render a decision. Normally, there is at least one 30-day extension. A sample time frame would be as follows:

June 1Client retains Feinstein Education Law Group
June 15Request for Due Process Filed
June 25Pre hearing Conference Held
July 13Mediation Held. If a settlement is reached, the case is over, although we do work with you to ensure that the district upholds its end of the bargain.
July 24Exhibits Due
August 3First Day of Hearings
September 28Last Day of Hearings (Hearings are not scheduled on consecutive days.)
October 15Post-Hearing Briefs Due
October 25Reply Briefs Due
November 5Final Decision and Order of Hearing Officer.
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