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What is an Advocate?

Boy and girl looking at computerThe Random House dictionary defines advocate in part as someone who speaks, writes in favor of, supports, advises or urges by argument in support of another person. In other words, an advocate is someone who actively negotiates for the needs of another.  Advocacy specialties include consumer protection, patient rights, and education. COPAA’s focus is on special education advocacy.

COPAA Advocate Members

With over 1800 members across the country, COPAA is the only national network of attorneys and advocates with the specific focus on the educational rights of students with disabilities.

Whether you are an experienced advocate or are just starting out, COPAA membership provides access to training and support from the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the country.  Learn from and share information with us about the real-world implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504, and other federal laws that guarantee civil rights for students with disabilities and their families.  

Additional benefits to COPAA membership include the following:

  • Access to COPAA’s closed, moderated listserv that provides the opportunity to share questions and ideas with advocate, attorney, and parent members.  COPAA’s member-to-member support is invaluable, providing up-to-date legal information, strategy tips, and information about national and state-specific resources.
  • Access to the member area of COPAA’s website, which includes sample documents and other practical advocacy tools, as well as member-only access to articles about critical special education issues, e.g., FERPA, parents’ rights to observe in classrooms, disability harassment, and more.
  • The opportunity to be listed in COPAA’s searchable online directory of member advocates, attorneys, and related professionals which is accessible to any website visitor.
  • Access to discounts on COPAA’s renowned annual conferende, which provides intensive professional development targeted to special education advocates and attorneys, with most sessions also open to parents and other professionals who advocate for children with disabilities.
  • Access to discounts on COPAA’s webinars, which are taught by experienced special education attorneys and other experts.

We hope you will Join Us! 


COPAA Voluntary Code of Ethics for Special Education Advocates

Information on Special Education Advocate Certification and Training

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