Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
Protecting the Legal and Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities
|New Attorney Training Bios|
Selene A. Almazan, Esq., COPAA Legal Director, has represented students and families for nearly 30 years. Selene is a former Supervising Attorney for the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland where she represented children in the foster care system, including representation in special education matters. For the last 23 years, Selene represented parents in special education matters with a primary focus on least restrictive environment issues at the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education. Since September 2014, Selene has been the Legal Director for the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) where she supports the work of the Amicus Committee as well as works on federal and local policy issues. Selene maintains a private practice focusing on parent and student representation in special education matters. Selene represents families at IEP team meetings, state complaint proceedings, mediations, due process hearings, suspension/expulsion proceedings and federal court proceedings, including matters involving violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. She has extensive experience training families, teachers, school administrators, attorneys and advocates on legal issues related to special education law as well as disability discrimination issues.
Judith Gran Esq. Judith is a founding member and past Board Member of COPAA and an active member of the COPAA Government Relations Committee. Judith is perhaps best known within COPAA for providing her invaluable annual case law review at each conference. Prior to joining Reisman Carolla Gran, Judith practiced law at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia from 1984 to 2009. She served as Director of Disability Projects from 1998 to 2009. She has conducted class action litigation to obtain community services for institutionalized persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Montana, California, Illinois, and Tennessee. Her work as counsel for the Arc of Pennsylvania and the plaintiff class during the implementation phase of the consent decree in Halderman v. Pennhurst from 1986 through 1998 led to significant improvements in community service systems in Philadelphia and other counties. She epresents special education students in administrative and judicial proceedings in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and other states, including the class action suit, Gaskin v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a case – currently in its implementation phase - brought to enforce the least restrictive environment mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Michele Kule-Korgood Esq. is the founder and managing attorney of Kule-Korgood & Associates, P.C. Michele has devoted twenty years in private practice to representing parents of children with disabilities in order to secure an effective education for their children. While studying psychology as an undergraduate, Michele became a personal care assistant for a classmate with cerebral palsy. Her classmate’s refusal to be defined by his disability inspired Michele to pursue a career in teaching special education. Years later, as a special education teacher, Michele’s efforts to help a student obtain assistive technology, so he could have a voice in the world, again changed the course of her life. In order to effect change for a greater number of people, she decided to attend law school and become a legal advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. Today, Michele is one of the most well-known, respected attorneys in the field and has successfully handled thousands of matters in special education, ensuring that every child receives equal access to the high quality education to which he or she is entitled. Her experience working closely with other professionals in the field, as well as her extensive knowledge of educational programs, allow Michele to assist parents in finding and accessing appropriate placements and services. As a former special educator, Michele brings unique insight into the complex issues related to obtaining effective opportunities for children.As a leading national authority on special education law and policy, Michele is highly sought after as a speaker. She has chaired many conferences, and presented on various topics in special education law at numerous conferences, including those held by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), the New York State Bar Association, the Practising Law Institute, and Lehigh University, and at various agencies which provide education and advocacy services. Michele also serves as a board member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), and the Center for Learning Differences. Michele has argued and presented cases involving novel issues in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Eastern and Southern District Courts, the Appellate Division and state Supreme Court. She has a number of published decisions in various courts in special education and additional education-related areas of law. Michele earned her Juris Doctor Degree from Hofstra University School of Law and prior to that obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Special Education and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Boston University. Michele lives on Long Island with her husband and two sons, balancing her career in special education law with her family and community involvement.
Jennifer D. Laviano, Esq. holds a B.A. in English Literature from Skidmore College and earned her J.D., cum laude, from Quinnipiac University School of Law. Jennifer has dedicated her law practice entirely to the special education rights of children and adolescents with disabilities. Her representation encompasses the full spectrum of advocacy under IDEA, from IEP team meetings and mediation to zealous litigation in due process and federal court proceedings. Jennifer co-hosts the weekly radio show, “Your Special Education Rights with Jen and Julie,” on Autism One, is a member of the faculty of Solo Practice University, and authors the popular blog, "Special Ed Justice." Jennifer practices law in Connecticut. She is a former chair of COPAA's Board of Directors.
Catherine Merino Reisman, Esq. a founding partner of Freeman Carolla Reisman & Gran LLC, focuses her advocacy efforts on protecting the legal and civil rights of adults and children who have disabilities. Ms. Reisman is a Board member of COPAA, co-chair of the Amicus Committee and a former Chair of the COPAA Board. She represents clients with disabilities not only in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but nationwide. Catherine regularly speaks to parent groups, and has presented at several COPAA conferences. She graduated New York University in 1985 from Yale Law School in 1989.
6/1/2016 » 6/1/2017
Webinar Subscription for Organizations
6/1/2016 » 6/1/2017
Webinar Subscription for Individuals
3/2/2017 » 3/5/2017
COPAA's 19th Annual Conference: 2017 Dallas, TX
3/2/2017 » 3/4/2017
2017 COPAA Conference Sponsorship
3/10/2017 » 7/10/2017
2016 Webinar Series 1: IEP's and Their Components, What You Should Know