Colleen E. Parker sitting outdoors

Education

St. John’s University School of Law, Jamaica, New York
(Juris Doctor Degree, Cum Laude, June 2003)
University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
(B.B.A., Cum Laude, May 1999)

Bar Admissions

• New York (2004), SDNY (2005) and EDNY (2005)

Professional Associations

• Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)
• Nassau County Bar Association
• New York Bar Association
• Notre Dame Club of Long Island

About Me and Why I Started The Firm

My personal experience with special education law

My passion for advocating for the educational rights of children with disabilities began with my own child. As a parent of a child with special needs, I have navigated the complex world of special education. Through my own experience, I realized that parents need someone who can help them understand their child’s legal rights, and ensure that they receive the educational opportunities they deserve. I feel extremely lucky to be able to use my knowledge of special education law to help other families obtain the appropriate programs and related services for their children.

Parents are the best advocates

Knowledge is power in the realm of special education law. As the parent, you are your child’s best advocate. I will help empower you so that you know your child’s rights and can participate in the decisions at your child’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) or Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings. Together, we can advocate for the special education that your child is entitled to under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Litigation experience

Prior to starting this firm, I was a commercial litigator at a premier, mid-sized law firm in New York City for seven years. I was involved in all aspects of litigating complex commercial cases in federal and state court, as well as various arbitration forums.  Now I use these litigation skills for a much more rewarding cause, ensuring that children with disabilities are not denied a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Special education law for private placements

I have also worked as a legal consultant for a private special education school on Long Island.  This experience helped me fully understand the benefits of seeking a private placement, in an approved or independent special education school, when your school district cannot provide for your child’s unique needs.  Special education law governing private placements and tuition reimbursement is complex but my firm can provide you with the guidance you need to pursue this option.

The influence of my parents as educators

My parents, both educators on Long Island for over thirty years, taught me that a quality education is the gateway to the future. The time that our children with disabilities spend in school is crucial for preparing them for success; we must be sure they are receiving the appropriate special education and related services that meet their unique needs.

My parents have been invaluable resources in helping me understand the nuances of special education. My mother taught one of the first co-taught classes on Long Island. My father, with a Doctorate in Special Education, was a teacher, a principal and an Interim Director of Special Education Services on Long Island and was also an Associate Professor of Graduate Special Education.  My parents have provided me valuable insight as to the dynamics of special education and the differing points of view of school districts on Long Island.