Obtain Lists of Low-Cost or Free Attorneys and Advocates for Special Education
As part of its interagency agreement with the California Department of Education, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) maintains a list of attorneys and a separate list of advocates who self-certify that they are knowledgeable about Special Education and that they offer services either free or at a low cost. OAH considers the primary purpose of these lists is to help parents of children with exceptional needs to locate free or reduced cost representation in preparation for special education due process hearings.
The last column of these lists identifies the geographical area where the attorney or advocate practices. You should contact the individual attorney or advocate and determine what free or low cost services they provide.
OAH does not represent that the individuals placed on the list offer free or low cost services. It is important that if you choose to use the list that you contact the attorneys and advocates to discuss their fees.
On September 28, 2017, the California Attorney General’s Office issued opinion No. 14-101 addressing the participation of advocates in special education proceedings before the Office of Administrative Hearings. You are encouraged to read the opinion if you are considering retaining the services of an advocate. The opinion can be found at: https://oag.ca.gov/opinions/
HOW TO APPLY TO BE INCLUDED IN THESE LISTS
OAH issues an Attorney list and a separate Advocate list two times per year: January and July. The July list is called the "Summer" list and the January list is called the "Winter" list.
The Summer lists are completely new lists. To be included in the Summer list each attorney, organization, or advocate must submit an application between June 1 and June 30 of each year. The application must be complete. Unsigned applications, incomplete applications, or applications with responses such as "same as before" or "no change," will not be accepted.
To be deemed complete the application must:
1) Identify if the applicant is seeking to be on the attorney list or the advocate list.
2) If the applicant is an individual, the applicant's name must be legible and must be stated in the following format: last name, first name. If a title is included, the title should be stated after the first name. For example, Dr. Hancock Corbett should be stated as: "Corbett, Hancock, Dr."
3) Website and email addresses, if provided, must be complete. For example, if the website address has "https://www" as part of the address, this must be included in the application. Website addresses such as "media.org" will not be accepted.
4) Geographic areas served must be identified. If all areas are checked then the listing will only be included in the "All California" listing.
5) The application must be signed by the applicant or someone authorized to sign on behalf of the organization
6) All information must be legible, including the numbers. Be sure the entire number is clearly shown in the field.
The Winter list is an updated list. If you or your organization are on the Summer list, and you have no changes to make to the listing as it is on the Summer list, then no additional application is required. If, however, you wish to be added to the list, or to make changes to the listing as it appears on the Summer list, then you will need to submit a complete application between December 1 and December 15 for changes to be included in the Winter list issued the following January. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Please see the above requirements for a "complete" application under the "Summer List" section, above.
OAH will include on the list all persons and organizations that provide a timely, complete application, and certify that they provide free or reduced cost representation with the meaning of Education Code section 56502, subdivision (h).
Applicants may either submit the completed form application or a letter which contains all of the information requested in the form application. If a letter is sent the letter must contain, in addition to the information requested on the form, the following language with the appropriate signature: "I declare under penalty of perjury that the person or organization identified above provides free or reduced cost representation or other assistance within the meaning Education Code section 56502, subdivision (h)."
The application or letter should be submitted to OAHSEOPs@dgs.ca.gov.
The link to the application for inclusion in the Attorney or Advocate lists is posted below. Any application sent outside of the application periods will not be retained.
Applications for the Summer list may be submitted between June 1 and June 30 of each year. Applications requesting inclusion in the Winter list for additions or changes to the Summer list may be submitted between December 1 and December 15 of each year.
Alternative Format Request
All forms and publications on this website are available in alternative formats. If you would like a copy of a form or publication in an alternative format, please contact us at DGSOAHFeedback@dgs.ca.gov.