NJ Supreme Court Committee Solicits Input on Educational Advocates

December 01, 2020

Proposed limitations to advocates’ scope of practice draws community opposition

On September 30, 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law released a ruling and related opinion that would make it more difficult for non-attorney advocates to advise special education students and their parents in Individualized Educational Program (IEP) meetings and mediation conferences.

Non-attorney advocates often play an important role to ensure students access their educational rights and IEP-mandated services. The Committee’s opinion, known as “Opinion 56,” sparked concern in the special education community when it was released. In response, the Committee suspended implementation of the opinion and solicited public comment.

Our colleagues at the Education Law Center (ELC) provided an incisive legal analysis and compelling moral explanation outlining the opposition and the impact this opinion could have, if implemented. A leading authority on special education matters, ELC Senior Attorney, Elizabeth Athos, Esq., authored their extensive public comments.

ELC Press Release

We will continue to monitor this issue, advocate as needed, and provide updates as soon as they become available.

If you have any questions about your special education rights, are considering looking for a non-attorney advocate or lawyer, or need additional assistance, please reach out to our 800.4.AUTISM Helpline.

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