College of

Special Education Law Symposium

Sunday, June 19, 2022 - 8:00am to Friday, June 24, 2022 - 4:00pm

Lehigh University’s intensive one-week symposium provides a practical analysis of legislation, regulations, and court decisions relating to the education of students with disabilities.

Who Should Attend?

The symposium is designed for special education coordinators and teachers, principals, psychologists, parent advocates, charter school personnel, attorneys (on both sides), hearing officers, state education agency personnel, and other individuals interested in a thorough exploration of the special education legal landscape. 

Distance Learning

The symposium has always valued face-to-face interactions, a hallmark of our conferences over the decades. We look forward to a potential return to Lehigh University’s beautiful campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. However, the current national emergency challenges us to be innovative and flexible. Just as we encourage our students with and without disabilities to see challenges as opportunities, it is our time to model that spirit.

The 2020 and 2021 symposiums were markedly successful in this virtual format with registrants from across the country.

The registration fee will again include on-line access to all attorney outlines (including legal citations), access to all applicable laws and regulations, and session recordings.

2021 Registration Fees

Please note the following reduced rates, as we pass along savings from expenses (e.g., meals) that the Symposium will not incur in this distance learning format.

  • Full-week fee: $925
  • Per day fee: $245
  • Section 504 Institute two-day fee: $495
  • Monday Keynote: $65
2021 Program

The symposium will begin on Sunday evening with a Keynote Address. 

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 emerging non-discrimination statute. An added focus will consider the importance of Section 504/ADA in schools during the pandemic. Click on Section 504 Coordinators Institute for more information.

Twenty-three accomplished special education attorneys will present eight new “hot topics” in three-hour sessions. The topics have been chosen because they are present both in the latest court decisions and in the daily practice of special education attorneys. Click on Legally Experienced Track Hot Topics.  A Legally Basic track will concurrently offer foundation topics under the IDEA and Section 504. See the 2022 Schedule (access through the brown banner at the top of this page).

The 2021 Special Education Law Symposium faculty will include the following twenty-three attorneys (both sides and from across the country): Jean Adams (California), Steven Aleman (Texas), Laura Anthony (Ohio), Jason Ballum (Virginia), Hope Blackburn (New Jersey), Matt Cohen (Illinois), Andrew Faust (Pennsylvania), Brian Jason Ford (Pennsylvania), Kate Gerland (Colorado), Justin Gilbert (Tennessee), Craig Goodmark (Georgia), Eileen Hagerty (Massachusetts), Eric Herlan (Maine), Rachel Hitch (North Carolina), Isabel Machado (New Jersey), Jose Martin (Texas), Thomas Mayes (Iowa), Dr. Anne McGinnis (New York), Catherine Michael (Indiana), Frances Shefter (Maryland), Parris Taylor (Louisiana), Jessica Varn (Florida), Dr. Perry Zirkel (Pennsylvania), as well as school administrator Edward D’Addio (Massachusetts), and Dr. Summer Whitmore, Executive Director, EDSCLA (Louisiana).

Dr. Perry Zirkel, Lehigh University professor emeritus of education and law, will conclude the symposium on Friday afternoon with “A Legal Snapshot of COVID-19 Issues for Public Schools, with the Primary Focus on Special Education,” following the Friday AM’s traditional National Case Law Update.

Section 504 Coordinators Institute

Included in the symposium is an overlapping two-day Section 504 Coordinators Institute, a training for district coordinators and others responsible for Section 504 implementation in public schools, including the latest litigated Section 504 disputes, an in-depth exploration of the relationship between Section 504/ADA and the IDEA, and a “nuts and bolts” how-to session about how to appropriately and effectively administer this important anti-discrimination statute.

Continuing Education Credits
  • CLE Credit: Unfortunately, due to the online format of the 2021 Special Education Law Symposium, we are unable to offer Pennsylvania CLE credit this year.
  • Act 48: Pennsylvania Act 48 credits (up to 32.5 hours) are available for the symposium and Section 504 Institute.
Contact Information

Questions about the program and content information:
Perry Zirkel, Co-Director
Lehigh University, College of Education
111 Research Drive
Behtlehem, PA 18015

James Newcomer, Co-Director
321 Joshua Tree Drive
Collegeville, PA 19426

Questions about registration or technical issues:
Donna Johnson and Shannon Weber
Lehigh University
111 Research Drive, B206
Bethlehem, PA 18015