Education Law

North Star Education Law: A Fresh & Empathetic Approach to AdvocacyNorth Star Education Law

Welcome to North Star Education Law ("NSEL"), a division of North Star Law Group. We understand that navigating the complex world of special education can be overwhelming and confusing. That's why we are here to offer our assistance and support.

Who We Are

As proud members of the Council of Parent & Attorney Advocates ("COPAA"), our experienced education attorney team is committed to championing the civil rights of students with disabilities by exclusively representing these students and their families, as well as organizations that support them. Our philosophy is centered on empowering families to advocate for their children and ensuring that their voices are heard. We strongly believe that every child should have an equal opportunity to access quality education, regardless of their abilities.

Leading the NSEL team is Matthew Overcast, our Head of Education Law. Matthew is not just an accomplished business professional and attorney; he's also neurodiverse, living with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and ADHD, in addition to his military service-connected disabilities. Matthew is also a dedicated father who provides unwavering support to his school-aged children and family members with specific learning disabilities (SDLs) and profound deafness. These personal experiences give him a unique perspective and deep understanding of the challenges faced by students with disabilities across all levels of academia and professional licensing.

If you are seeking an advocate who possesses a deep understanding of education law and who can genuinely empathize with the unique challenges your child is facing, your search ends here. At North Star Education Law, we don't just fight for you; we fight with you! Contact us today to arrange a free consultation to learn how we can assist you in navigating the special education process.

We also invite you to join us on our diverse social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, to stay connected. By taking this step, you will gain access to valuable resources on education law and self-advocacy strategies, all while staying up-to-date on our newest services and initiatives. Take a moment to connect with our education team and stay up-to-date!

Our Services

Our education division offers a range of services to help families navigate the special education process, including Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and review, mediation and negotiation with school districts, and Section 504 accommodations. We understand that every family's situation is unique, which is why we take a personalized approach to each case. Our education lawyer team will work closely with you to understand your child's needs and develop a strategy that best meets those needs.

Our legal team expertly handles a wide range of education matters, including but not limited to the following areas:

(I) Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that ensures that children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that meets their unique needs and prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living. The law applies to children from birth to age 21 who have one or more of the 13 disabilities listed in the law, including autism, deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, and emotional disturbance.

IDEA requires schools to provide individualized education programs (IEPs) for each eligible student with a disability. An IEP is a written plan that outlines the student's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, annual goals, special education and related services, accommodations and modifications, and progress monitoring. The IEP team includes the parents or guardians, teachers, school administrators, special education professionals, and the student (if appropriate).

IDEA also mandates procedural safeguards to protect the rights of students with disabilities and their families. These safeguards include notice of meetings and decisions, parental consent for evaluations and services, access to educational records, mediation and due process hearings for disputes, and the right to appeal decisions.

Schools must provide FAPE in the least restrictive environment (LRE) appropriate for each student. This means that students with disabilities should be educated with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. However, if a student's disability requires more intensive services or a different setting than the general education classroom, the school must provide those services in a separate classroom or school.

IDEA is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Schools that violate IDEA can face corrective action plans, loss of federal funding, or legal action by parents or advocacy groups.

If you believe that your child has been denied FAPE or other rights under IDEA, you may need legal assistance to advocate for your child's rights. A knowledgeable education lawyer can help you understand your legal options and work with you to develop an effective strategy for resolving disputes with your child's school district.

(II) Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal statute that bestows certain rights upon individuals with disabilities. It mandates that all recipients of federal funding, including public schools from early childhood programs through college-level institutions, as well as private schools or universities that receive federal funding, cannot discriminate against individuals based on their disability. This statute applies to any student with a disability, and some may require a 504 Plan to accommodate their needs. A 504 Plan can include special education and related services, outlining specific accommodations required by the student. Unfortunately, schools may sometimes refuse to provide a student with a disability with a 504 Plan, or fail to follow it appropriately.

If you believe that your child is not receiving appropriate services under Section 504, or that they are entitled to accommodations under this statute, North Star Education Law can evaluate your claim.

(III) Testing & Accommodation

Although students with disabilities are entitled to receive testing accommodations by law, they are frequently denied by school districts, colleges/universities, professional licensing boards and credentialing services, or private testing agencies. Our education lawyer team has experience handling cases where students with disabilities have been unjustly denied accommodation during testing.

(IV) School Discipline

Students facing disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion, are entitled to certain rights. These rights include receiving a written explanation for the suspension or expulsion, the opportunity to present their side of the story, and the right to a hearing before an impartial hearing officer or the school board.

Additionally, students have the right to an attorney at their expulsion hearings. Students with disabilities, even those without an IEP or 504 Plan, are granted additional protections against school discipline. College and university students may also encounter disciplinary issues, such as being placed on academic probation, facing accusations of conduct violations or plagiarism, or disputes with the school regarding enrollment status.

If you or your child with disabilities is facing disciplinary action at school or if disciplinary proceedings have been initiated against you, we encourage you to contact North Star Education Law for a consultation.

Pricing and Billing Options

At North Star Education Law, we are dedicated to helping families secure the necessary resources and services for their students with disabilities to thrive academically, all while avoiding exorbitant costs. To fulfill our mission, our education lawyer team offers our clients the most cutting-edge billing options, with a focus on flat fees for bundled services and subscription-based membership plans. This allows our valued families to prepare for any unforeseen circumstances with ease and peace of mind.

Flat Fees

DIY Advocacy Bundle (+)

The DIY Advocacy Bundle is a package designed for parents or family members who already have strong advocacy skills and a working knowledge of laws affecting special education rights. This bundle includes several valuable resources and services. With this bundle, families receive fundamental coverage for the following services during the academic school year:

  • Initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, for up to one hour.
  • A thorough examination of the student's testing results and supporting documentation
  • A proposed draft of the IEP/504 plan, tailored to meet the student's unique needs
  • Our comprehensive Initial and Annual Review IEP/504 Checklists.

Bundle Cost: - $1,000 flat fee

Establishment Bundle (+)

Our Establishment Bundle is tailored to meet the needs of families whose students do not have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan in place with their home school district but are either suspected of having a disability or currently undergoing evaluations for one. Our education lawyer team of experienced staff will work closely with you to assist your student in obtaining an IEP/504 plan from your school district. With this bundle, families receive fundamental coverage for the following services during the academic school year:

  • Initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, for up to one (1) hour.
  • A thorough examination of the student's testing results and supporting documentation;
  • A proposed draft of the IEP/504 plan, tailored to meet the student's unique needs;
  • Our comprehensive Initial and Annual Review IEP/504 Checklists;
  • NSEL team attendance at the Eligibility Meeting with the student's school district, for up to two (2) hours;
  • Evaluation and feedback on the school district's proposed Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan;
  • All routine emails and calls with the school and service agencies related to the eligibility meeting and proposed draft of the IEP/504; and
  • A 5% discounted billable rate for any administrative hearing or litigation required.

Bundle Cost: - $2,500 flat fee

Membership Subscriptions

Silver (Maintenance) Plan (+)

Our Silver (Maintenance) plan is perfect for families with students who have disabilities that do not require extensive services or whose accommodations are already established and functioning effectively. Generally, these families only need minimal advocacy services during the yearly mandated IEP/504 review. With the maintenance plan, families receive fundamental coverage for the following services during the academic school year:

  • A consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, for up to approx. 30 minutes;
  • A thorough examination of the student's student’s current IEP/504 plans;
  • Attendance of the NSEL team at the Annual IEP/504 Review Meeting, for up to 1 hour;
  • Evaluation and feedback on the school's proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan for the upcoming academic year;
  • Attendance of the NSEL team at an additional meeting during the academic year, for up to one hour;
  • Emails with the school & service agencies relating to the annual meeting (NTE 5 ea.);
  • Phone calls (≤ 15 minutes ea.) with the school and service agencies relating to the annual meeting (NTE 3 ea.);
  • Our comprehensive Annual Review IEP/504 Checklist;
  • A 5% discounted billable rate for any administrative hearing or litigation required.

Plan Cost: - $1,700 annually

Gold Plan (+)

Our Gold Plan is the perfect solution for families who need more support in advocating for their students’ needs. This package is especially advantageous for students who face difficulties due to a complex range of disabilities, require more comprehensive services and accommodation, or are dealing with a less cooperative school district. Under the Gold package, families are entitled to receive the following services during the academic school year:

  • A consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, for up to one (1) hour;
  • A thorough examination of the student's current IEP/504 plan;
  • Attendance of the NSEL team at the Annual IEP/504 Review Meeting, for up to 1.5 hours;
  • Evaluation and feedback on the school's proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan for the upcoming academic year;
  • Attendance of the NSEL team at an additional two (2) meetings during the academic year, for up to one (1) hour;
  • Emails with the school & service agencies relating to the annual meeting (NTE 10 ea.);
  • Phone calls (≤ 15 minutes ea.) with the school and service agencies relating to the annual meeting (NTE 5 ea.);
  • Our comprehensive Annual Review IEP/504 Checklist;
  • A 10% discounted billable rate for any administrative hearing or litigation required.

Plan Cost: - $2,500 annually

Platinum Plan (+)

Our Platinum membership package is tailored to meet the needs of families who require the utmost level of assistance in advocating for their child's educational needs. This package is particularly beneficial for families with students who face recurring behavioral challenges related to their diagnosis, have encountered obstacles in obtaining accommodations or services for their child, or are grappling with a highly contentious school district. Under the Platinum package, families are entitled to receive the following services during the academic school year:

  • A consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, for up to approx. one (1) hour;
  • Attendance of the NSEL team at the Annual IEP/504 Review Meeting, for up to 2 hours;
  • Evaluation and feedback on the school's proposed Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan for the upcoming academic year;
  • NSEL team attendance for up to three (3) additional meetings, not to exceed one (1) hour each;
  • Emails with the school & service agencies relating to the annual meeting (NTE 15 ea.);
  • Phone calls (≤ 15 minutes ea.) with the school and service agencies relating to the annual meeting (NTE 10 ea.);
  • Our comprehensive Annual Review IEP/504 Checklist;
  • A direct dial emergency number for your designated attorney or advocate (use restricted to emergencies only).
  • A 15% discounted billable rate for any administrative hearing or litigation required.

Plan Cost: - $5,00 annually

Attorneys:  Matthew Overcast