Special Education Law Symposium

Dr. Zirkel and Dr. Newcomer will not be offering the symposium in 2023. Thank you for your past attendance or current interest.

Lehigh University’s annual, week-long symposium will be held virtually again this year, building upon the success of the 2021 symposium, which attracted a record number of registrants from across the country. Per day registrations are also available.

Twenty-nine accomplished special education attorneys (both sides) will provide instruction and resource outlines exploring the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, their respective regulations, and the most recent federal court decisions.

Registrants have a choice of two tracks: Legally Basic and Legally Experienced. The latter track will explore eight “hot topics,” three-hour sessions that analyze issues of current relevance in special education case law. The Legally Basic track will study IDEA foundation topics: IDEA Overview, Child Find and Eligibility, FAPE, LRE, Discipline, Remedies, and also Section 504.

Recorded sessions:

Because all sessions will be recorded, all registrants will have access (via secure password) through October 15, 2022, to all sessions (both tracks), thus doubling the available content.

Section 504 Coordinators Institute:

The symposium will again overlap with a separable two-day (June 23-24) Section 504 Coordinators Institute, designed to provide both a conceptual framework and “nuts and bolts” implementation guidance for school personnel designated to implement this increasingly important anti-discrimination statute.

Symposium faculty:

The symposium offers a careful balance between school and parent viewpoints. Twenty-nine attorneys (both sides) will lecture, take questions, and provide detailed lecture outlines with case law citations: Steven Aleman (Texas), Laura Anthony (Ohio), Jason Ballum (Virginia), Maria Blaeuer (Maryland), Mandy Favaloro (California), Elena Gallegos (New Mexico) , Justin Gilbert (Tennessee), Craig Goodmark (Georgia), Eileen Hagerty (Massachusetts), Rachel Hitch (North Carolina), Jennifer Laviano (Connecticut), Jose Martin (Texas), Thomas Mayes (Iowa), Dr. Anne McGinnis (New York), Catherine Michael (Indiana), David Rubin (New Jersey), Ian Spechler (Texas), Michael Stafford (Delaware), Gail Stewart (New Mexico), Kathleen Sullivan (Colorado), Parris Taylor (Louisiana), Kendra Yoch (Illinois), Pennsylvania attorneys Amy Brooks, Andrew Faust, Brian Jason Ford, Heidi Goldsmith, Brooke Say, and Dr. Perry Zirkel, as well as Section 504 administrator Judith Nedell (Connecticut).


  • Full-week fee: $945
  • Per day fee: $250
  • Section 504 Institute two-day fee: $495
  • Sunday keynote (included in full-week registration): $65
  • Ethics session (attorneys only): $20

Program schedule:

The symposium begins on Sunday evening with a keynote lecture and Q and A by Laurie VanderPloeg, Associate Executive Director for Professional Affairs, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), continues with daily AM and PM 3-hour sessions, and concludes on Friday with the National Case Law Update and Legal Snapshot of COVID-19 Issues by Dr. Perry Zirkel, Lehigh University professor emeritus of education and law.

Attorneys (only) may elect to add Ethical Challenges for the Special Education Attorney, an interactive, scenario-based 1.5 hour session late Wednesday afternoon, lead by attorneys Thomas Mayes (Iowa) and David Rubin (New Jersey).

Credits and certificates:

All registrants will receive a certificate of attendance, which documents hours of participation. Act 48 credits are available to Pennsylvania educators. Iowa CLE credits for attorneys are available and recognized by multiple states. See “Registration and Fees” page for further information.

Three Lehigh University graduate credits are available for full-week registrants. Please find more information about this option on our Registration & Fees page.