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(6.56) Must I be represented by an attorney in order to go through due process?

(6.56) Must I be represented by an attorney in order to go through due process?

No. There is nothing in California or federal law to prevent you from representing yourself. However, you also have the right to be accompanied and advised by an attorney. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.512(a)(1).]

Whether you needan attorney depends on whether you can collect and properly present the evidence that you will need to prevail. If you do not use an attorney, you should make every effort to consult with an attorney (or advocate) who has training and experience in special education law and procedure.

A special education attorney or advocate can inform you of what law applies to your child’s situation. It is important to know what the legal standards are regarding the extent of your child’s entitlement to special education services and placement. Your presentation of evidence through your witnesses and documents should be consistent with the legal standards that apply.

If you do choose to be represented by an attorney at the hearing, you must notify the other parties of this at least 10 days prior to the hearing. [Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56507(a).]