Education Law Firms California – Our special education law firm work as a team on every case. We believe it’s important to approach all cases as a team to encourage an encompassing approach where nothing is overlooked. Call (858) 433-1060
Our team has had personal experiences with the injustices of the special education system, making us uniquely qualified and especially empathetic to our clients. We understand the struggle, and it drives our passion to do everything in our power to protect the rights of children with special needs.
How We’re Different
We are known for being an aggressive special education law firm willing to take cases as far as necessary to protect the rights of children. We are one of the handful of law firms in California to argue before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Our special education law firm is devoted to our clients because our firm has attorneys who have had personal experiences with the deficiencies of the special education system.
Many special education law firms assign one attorney to a case. We believe it’s important to approach all cases as a team to encourage an encompassing approach where nothing is overlooked.
The Storey Behind the Passion
For me, the path to becoming a special education attorney was straight forward. I vividly remember my family’s frustration with my brother’s education. He is a year younger than I and is diagnosed with cerebral palsy (“CP”), a group of neurological disorders that effect movement. CP, like many disabilities, is abroad spectrum.
Some are able to move with relative ease, for others all movement may be virtually paralyzed, bound to a chair and require constant supervision for life. I suppose fortunately, my brothers is more the former. At one point, I recall my mother arguing with the school principal about my brother being placed in a room by himself with only a television.
He must have been in the 2nd or 3rd grade, and apparently this had been going on for over a month with no notification to my parents. The principal told my mom the school did not have the ability to support my brother, and the room with a television was all they could do. My parents, not knowing they may have had other options, moved my brother to a private school.
To be clear this was illegal. There is a robust set of federal and state laws which require schools to provide an appropriate education to all children with disabilities. Unfortunately, all too often they are not followed.
When my brother was placed in a room by himself the school was clearly violating the law. What my parents may not have known at the time, was they were not required to just accept whatever the school offered my brother or place him at their own expense into a private school.
When a parent disagrees with the IEP or its implementation they can file a complaint with the state department of education and have a judge determine whether or not the school is complying with the IDEA. I think, had I been their attorney at the time, either the school would have had to create an appropriate program or pay for my brother to attend a private school. A common outcome with cases as egregious.
Meet Our Team
Matthew Storey, Attorney
I became a special education attorney because I saw firsthand the struggles my family went through navigating the education system. When you know something is wrong, it can be daunting and sometimes feel impossible to make the necessary changes to provide our children with an appropriate education. This can feel even more so when up against a school with unlimited resources.
My goal has always been to put parents on equal footing with schools and provide effective representation. To that end we have experience from due process, to federal district court, and have argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
We also believe that understanding your rights, and how special education works is a priority and spend a significant amount of time providing free trainings to the community. I have also had the pleasure of teaching at the special education program at USD School of Law, and the graduate program for school psychology at Brandman University.
I received my B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from the University of California at San Diego and Juris Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Prior to that I served in United States Air Force. I live in San Diego with my wife Alina, and two boys Lucas and Logan.
Marymichelle Lotano, Attorney
I was born and raised in upstate New York where I grew up as a competitive figure skater and recreational skier. As a young adult I attended Springfield College in Massachusetts. As a student at Springfield, I majored in Rehabilitation Services for the Disabled with the intention of going to law school. I am a graduate of Albany Law School of Union University in Albany New York.
I began my career as a legal intern with the District Attorney’s office researching and writing appeals to the New York State Appellate Division, 3rd Department. I then entered private practice in the area of Workers’ Compensation defense litigation and appellate law before the New York State Appellate Division, 3rd Department. Subsequent thereto, I entered government service with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board in the Office of General Counsel and was later invited to join the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board’s Office of Appeals. In addition, I am a published author with the New York State Bar Association. In 2001 I passed the California Bar examination with the intention of continuing to practice Workers’ Compensation Law.
However, when my child entered pre-school it was determined that he needed special education services. At that time, I was uneducated and unfamiliar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, but nonetheless became a part of the system. After experiencing a lack of services and fighting for my child’s needs, I decided to return to work in a professional capacity and with a focus on education law.
I spent the early part of my career attending Independent Education Plan meetings for children with special needs. I worked closely with a local applied behavioral analysis group to provide families with cost-free services. I loved my work with these families and enjoyed the IEP process tremendously.
In September 2019, I had the honor and the privilege of being offered a full-time position with the Law Offices of Schwartz and Storey in San Diego. As an associate with Schwartz and Storey, my knowledge and experience in the area of special education law grew exponentially.
Today it is a pleasure to be continuing my career with the Law Office of Matthew Storey, one of the top special education law firms California features, and working with other talented and passionate California education lawyers. I have had the pleasure and the opportunity to expand my skills in education law and work in a successful collaborative team environment.
In my free time, I love being with my teenage son, running, and going to the beach.
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