EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION AND DISABILITY RIGHTS REPRESENTATION
The purpose of this contract is to employ the attorneys of the Gallini Group (hereinafter referred to as “attorneys”) to provide legal representation to secure rights afforded to student’s with disabilities, including the right to a free, appropriate public education, pursuant to relevant state and federal disability laws and regulations, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for, hereinafter referred to as Petitioner.
Student. Petitioner, , is a student in the SCHOOL SYSTEM. Petitioner has, or is suspected of having, a disability, to-wit . At the time that this contract is executed, Petitioner is a minor. It is understood that Petitioner is a minor and that the undersigned is the legal representative of Petitioner and, as such, can enter into this contract on Petitioner’s behalf. It is further understood that the Petitioner is the subject of this contract and that all parties hereto shall act in the best interest of the Petitioner.
Law firm. The attorneys represent that they have, through education, training, and experience, specific skills in prosecuting special education and disability-law matters.
School System. The SCHOOL SYSTEM hereinafter referred to as Respondent is a public school system in the state of . As a public school system, the Respondent receives federal funds to provide a free, appropriate public education to students who have qualifying disabilities and must comply with the statutory provisions of state and federal law and the rules and regulations promulgated thereto. It is further understood that Respondent is the adversarial party in this action.
Law Firm. The attorney agrees to the following:
1. Evaluate the case subject to the probability of prevailing on the merits thereof, and timely inform the parent or guardian of Petitioner whether or not attorneys will provide legal representation on behalf of Petitioner.
2. If determined appropriate and at the discretion of the attorney, file a request for an impartial due process hearing with the Superintendent of Instruction of the State Department of Education on behalf of Petitioner.
3. Provide the legal representative of the Petitioner information regarding the application of the federal law as it applies to their child who has, or is suspected of having, a disability.
4. Provide the Petitioner’s representative periodic updates regarding the status of the case.
5. Engage the services of appropriate educational or other experts at no cost to the Petitioner or Petitioner’s legal representative, except as specified in this contract.
6. When appropriate, and at the discretion of the attorney, conduct or participate in depositions of witnesses.
7. When appropriate and in the best interest of Petitioner, engage in negotiations with personnel of the Respondent or its attorney in order to resolve the issues associated with Petitioner’s complaint.
8. Should a negotiated resolution of the issues of Petitioner’s complaint not be possible, participate in an impartial due process hearing.
9. Provide Petitioner’s legal representative, the results of settlement discussions or the impartial due process hearing.
10. Should the result of the impartial due process hearing not be totally favorable, discuss with Petitioner’s legal representative the possibility of prevailing on appeal.
11. At the discretion of the attorney, engage in an appeal of the impartial due process hearing decision.
The attorney will participate in individual education plan (IEP) meetings if, and only if, said attendance is directed through a negotiated settlement or through an impartial due process hearing decision. The attorney will not be responsible, unless specific arrangements are made subject to another agreement, for monitoring the success or failure of the implementation of any negotiated settlement or impartial due process hearing decision.
Petitioner’s Representative. The Petitioner’s representative agrees to the following:
1. Provide complete and truthful information regarding the facts of Petitioner’s case.
2. Limit interaction with personnel of the school system to those matters related to the everyday and routine function of Petitioner’s educational program.
3. Provide the attorney copies of written documents that have been provided to the parent or guardian regarding Petitioner’s educational program.
4. Participate in depositions.
5. Participate in settlement discussions.
6. Participate in the impartial due process hearing.
7. Participate in discussions related to the implementation of a negotiated settlement or impartial due process hearing decision.
8. Monitor the implementation of a negotiated settlement or impartial due process hearing decision.
9. Participate in appeals of the impartial due process hearing decision should the decision not be favorable and should the attorney recommend an appeal.
10. Participate in any lawsuits brought by the attorney to recover attorney’s fees subject to this action.
The attorney charges the rate of $275.00 per hour for representing students with disabilities. The attorney will not require the payment of a retainer, or any other payment, by the representative of the Petitioner, except as specified in this contract. It is understood by both parties to this contract that certain laws enacted for the protection of children with disabilities, provides for the recovery of attorney’s fees to the representative of the Petitioner should the Petitioner prevail on disputed educational issues as the product of the legal representation provided by the attorney, either through a negotiated settlement or an impartial due process hearing. Should the Respondent make no offer of settlement, or an inadequate offer of settlement, and the case proceeds to a hearing and the hearing officer determines that the Petitioner is not the prevailing party, then the Petitioner’s representative does not owe payment of attorney’s fees but agrees to actively participate in any litigation deemed appropriate by the attorney in the pursuit of an appeal and/or recovery of attorney fees.
The Respondent will frequently make an offer of settlement. The attorney will discuss the offer of settlement with the Petitioner’s representative and make a recommendation as to whether or not to accept the offer. If the attorney recommends that the offer be accepted, but the Petitioner’s representative disagrees with the attorney’s recommendation, the parties may go forward with a due process hearing. If, at the conclusion of the hearing, the decision rendered by the impartial due process hearing officer is that the Respondent is the prevailing party, the Petitioner’s representative would then become responsible for payment of the attorneys’ fees. Alternatively, if the judgment rendered designates Petitioner as prevailing party, but the award is not greater than the offer made by the Respondent, then according the provisions of the IDEA, the Respondent is no longer responsible for attorney’s fee from the date that the offer was made. The Petitioner’s representative would then become responsible for payment of the attorneys’ fees from that point in time when the offer was made until the completion of the case.
This contract is a performance contract. Should the Petitioner’s representative retain another attorney during the course of the case, or should the Petitioner’s representative unilaterally dismiss the action or otherwise make it impossible to complete the prosecution of the case against the Respondent (for example, by failing to communicate with attorney), the Petitioner’s representative shall become responsible for the attorney’s fee based upon the amount of time that the attorney has performed his legal services in the case.
NONPAYMENT BY THE RESPONDENT
If the Respondent refuses to pay attorneys’ fees when the Petitioner is the prevailing party and it becomes necessary to pursue attorney’s fees through lawsuit, it is understood that the Petitioner’s representative shall actively participate in that lawsuit as a party to the lawsuit. Should Petitioner’s representative refuse to participate in the aforementioned lawsuit, Petitioner’s representative shall become responsible for the aforementioned attorney’s fees.
The parties hereto agree that they have read the content of this contract and agree to be bound by the terms hereto and that no other terms, unless reduced to writing and amended to this contract, are binding upon the parties.
IT IS EXPRESSLY UNDERSTOOD THAT INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS FROM THIS OFFICE WILL BE THROUGH EMAIL. THEREFORE, I AGREE TO PROVIDE THIS FIRM WITH A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS AND NOTIFY THE FIRM’S REPRESENTATIVE IF THE EMAIL ADDRESS CHANGES.
ADDITIONALLY, I WILL NOT HAVE ANY COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD, ITS TEACHERS, OR ITS REPRESENTATIVES WHILE THIS LAW FIRM REPRESENTS MY CHILD OR ME OTHER THAN FOR ROUTINE EDUCATIONAL MATTERS, I.E. UNRELATED TO THE DUE PROCESS COMPLAINT.
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Signed by Gina Lowe
Signed On: March 4, 2019
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Document Name: Representation Agreement
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