Education Law includes:

  • Litigation and Appeals
  • Administrative Proceedings
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Special Education
  • Student Discipline Issues

Our lawyers are active in Special Education law practice throughout New York State. We represent both School Districts and parents with disabled children in the full spectrum of disability education law related issues. Our focus is on assisting the parties in developing a solid working relationship culminating in the successful education of disabled students.

It is our goal to:

  • Foster a spirit of cooperation, even between legal adversaries, by keeping our District clients informed of their legal obligations and rights while maintaining positive relationships with the community, its taxpayers, parents, students, and employees.
  • Inform our family clients on all rights and educational entitlements.
  • Bridge the communication gap that frequently exists between school district representatives and families, allowing the school district to provide an appropriate, beneficial education.
  • Individualize education: We have attended hundreds of Committee on Special Education meetings assisting the parties in developing appropriate Individualized Education Programs (IEP). We draft the descriptive portions of an IEP, crafting explicit measurable goals and objectives. Successful negotiations have been the hallmark of our practice.
  • Negotiate an acceptable resolution, and if one cannot be negotiated, we have been successful in administrative hearings, administrative appeals, judicial trials and appeals, as well as obtaining injunctive relief from the United States District Court.
  • Provide day-to-day guidance to school districts. We have performed audits of school districts’ special education due process procedures to ensure conformity with federal and state regulations, conducted training workshops and workshops for school district personnel on a variety of subjects, and drafted school policies and procedures, including all student matters, especially student discipline and Superintendents’ hearings. We also have experience with teacher discipline, Section 3020a.

We have litigated such issues as inclusion, least restrictive environment, classification, program, placement, related services, specialized equipment, transportation, tuition reimbursement, transition services, compensatory education, bi-lingual education, attorneys’ fees and Section 504 discrimination issues. We have been involved in many student discipline and “nexus” cases, including Superintendent hearings and appeals therefrom to the Commissioner of Education.

Finally, our practice is expanding to meet the needs of our long-time family clients who age out of special education protection. The firm assists clients with long-term planning, including creation of Supplemental Needs Trusts, counseling to the families on available benefits and services, and seeking, when necessary, partial or full guardianship for a disabled family member.

Kenneth Ritzenberg heads the education law practice. In addition to the experience described above, Mr. Ritzenberg has presented on topics involving all aspects of education practice, including a seminars on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act and presentations on discrimination and civil rights. He is the founder of and primary presenter at the Special Education Breakfast Group, a monthly training session on special education issues.

The following Young/Sommer attorneys represent clients in this practice area.

Hardison v. Board of Education of the Oneonta City School District, 773 F3d 372 (2d Cir 2014)

The firm successfully represented the Oneonta City School District (the “District”) before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (“Second Circuit”)... READ MORE