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
To be included in these lists as either an attorney or an advocate, please submit a completed application by July 30 of each year. All those who wish to be included in the lists must submit a complete, NEW application between July 1 and July 30 of each year. The list for that year will be issued on or before August 30.
Those that miss the July 30 deadline, or those that have changes in contact information, may submit a complete, NEW application between February 1 and February 28 of each year. Those already on the list for that year who do not require any changes in their information will not need to resubmit for the updated list. An updated list for both the attorneys and the advocates will be issued on or before March 15 of each year.
OAH will include on the list all persons and organizations that provide the information set forth below, and certify that they provide free or reduced cost representation within 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 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 of Education Code section 56502, subdivision (h),”
The application or the letter should be submitted to OAHSEOPs@dgs.ca.gov.
The application for inclusion in the Attorney or Advocate lists will be posted the month before the application period begins.
For the Updated List, the application period will begin February 1 and the application will be posted soon after January 1 of each year. Please see the link to the application provided below.
For the Summer List, the application period will begin July 1 and the application will be posted soon after August 30 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.