Charles Fox, a Chicago attorney who writes the Special Education Law Blog, has just posted a useful set of guidelines for parents who want to work effectively with a lawyer. Fox, who has a child with special needs, bases his "Guidelines for Working with a Special Education Attorney" on his experience working with parents. It covers practical matters like billing practices (driving to your house is on the clock) and setting clear and reasonable goals.
Some tips include: Ditch the shoe box full of papers in favor of organized files of past IEPs and other documents, presented in order of importance. Focus on results -- the best outcome for your child's education program -- when discussing strategy with your lawyer. And keep your emotions in check; don't let animosity against any individual school system represenatitive cloud your judgement.