ACNJ Says No to Opinion 56, Stating Non-Lawyers Have a Place in IEP Meetings, Mediation

On November 16, 2020, staff attorney Nina Peckman, on behalf of ACNJ, submitted comments to the Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, urging them to remove language in Opinion 56, which states that only lawyers are to be allowed in Independent Education Program (IEP) and mediation meetings. By barring non-lawyer advocates from meetings, Peckman argues, parents, particularly low-income individuals, will be left to either hire a lawyer, or advocate for their own rights when they may not understand all the issues at hand. Additionally, non-lawyer advocates may have unique insight into the student’s particular needs, such as CASA volunteers helping foster children or CP&P social workers assisting their clients. By limiting their input, it is essentially harming the child.

 

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