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Special Needs, Special Practice

By Annie Gausn | Aug. 2, 2006

Law Office Management

Aug. 2, 2006

Special Needs, Special Practice

Fighting for the rigths of learning-disabled kids.

By Annie Gaus
      When the federal government passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1975, the presumption was that public schools would have to provide special education to every qualifying child. But without adequate federal funding, not all districts have cooperated. In many instances that means parents have had to sue the districts to secure an appropriate education for their learning-disabled children.
      Enter Steven Wyner and Marcy Tiffany, two Los Angeles lawyers who came from big firms and who had a fair share of frustrating experiences with school districts on behalf of their own children with learning disabilities. In 2003 they teamed up and started a new firm specializing in special education cases.
      After three years, Wyner & Tiffany has proved itself with more than 35 successful settlements. And in its most impressive victory to date, Porter v. Board of Trustees of Manhattan Beach Unified School District (No. CV 00-08402 GAF), the firm won a $6.7 million settlement on behalf of a family with an autistic child-a record for a special education case. "For a small firm, we carry a big-firm mentality," says Tiffany. "We have been the substantially prevailing party in virtually every case."
      Currently, the firm has three lawyers and a staff of five handling more than 50 active cases.
      Theirs is a niche practice with a cause. Says Wyner: "We are committed not only to winning cases, but to shaping the law."

Annie Gausn

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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