August 2013 
The Child and Family Law Center  
of the North Shore, Ltd.
Back to School Issue 

In This Issue
The Elephant in the Room
Recording IEP Meetings
P.E. Exemption for Student Athletes with Disabilities
Juvenile Justice: 17 Year Olds to be Tried in Juvenile Court
Introducing Joe Scally
Lisle Office

Getting Ready for School: Ideas for Getting the Most out of your IEP (without going crazy!)
Presented by Micki Moran, J.D.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 7:00 p.m. - 7: 45 p.m

Announcements and Upcoming Events:



Micki Moran will participate in the panel discussion  

"Hot Topics in Special Education"

Illinois State Board of Education Directors' Conference 

August 9, 2013  

Springfield, IL 


 IAASE Fifteenth Annual Fall Conference

(Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education)

September 26-27, 2013

Tinley Park, IL


"Students with Mental Health Issues"


Presented by Micki Moran, J.D. and Laura Sinars, J.D.

Save the Date! 

The Child and Family Law Center's 

Autism and Special Education Summit 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Trinity International University*
Deerfield, IL
This conference is not a function of Trinity International University 

 7th Annual Best Practices in Nonpublic Special Education Programs
November 7-8, 2013
Oak Lawn, IL

"Private Placements: The Current Law, Trends and what Actually Happens when Placement is an Issue: A Parent's Attorney Perspective"

Presented by Micki Moran
American Academy of Pediatrics 4th Annual ABC Conference

Making Systems Work Across the Lifespan for Children with Special Needs

Friday, November 22, 2013

Palos Hills, IL  

"Advocating for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presented by Micki Moran, J.D.


Send us your announcements! 
Is your group or organization having and event? Email us or call our office at 847-926-0101 with the information and
The Child & Family Law Center will be happy to publish it in our newsletter.
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In addition to traditional divorce services,  

The Child and Family Law Center now offers:


Divorce Mediation


  • Cost Effective.
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  • Child Centered.
  • Problem Solving Focused. 

Please call us at 847-926-0101 for more information.

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The Child and Family Law Center provides representation and consultation in the following areas:
  • Special Education and School Law
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile and Criminal Law
  • Mental Health and Disability Law
 Check our website for a complete list of our services

The Child and Family Law Center, Ltd.  

1950 Sheridan Rd.
Suite 201 
Highland Park, IL 60035
phone: 847-926-0101
fax: 847-926-8500

Consultations by appointment in our Lisle, IL office. Please call for information. 
 We provide representation in the following Northern Illinois counties:  Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, and McHenry.
Hello and Welcome.  Each month The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, Ltd. will provide articles of interest and updates on areas that our office deals with on a regular basis.  We appreciate and welcome feedback, so please feel free to send us an email at [email protected] with questions or suggestions.
The Elephant in the Room 

The start of the school year is upon us all and it is apparent in the office as the phones have been ringing with concerned parents anxious to get things in place. This past month, I have been in meetings with parents where they have learned from private independent evaluations that their child has a serious disability. It isn't that they weren't aware of an issue but no one, including the school, had "officially" announced this to the parents. Two of the students had autism and one was identified as a student with an intellectual disability. The parents were devastated. After processing the information for several days, the shock turned to anger. In each case, the parents asked, "Why didn't someone tell us this before?" They had lost valuable time and opportunity for interventions. They may in fact have claims for compensatory education among other relief.

This isn't the first time I have mentioned the concern that, as an attorney, I have been put in the position of explaining and labeling a disability to a parent and the implications for programming. In discussions with school personnel, in each of these cases, they were clear that this information wasn't news to them and that they had been programming for the needs rather than the label. In asking why they weren't more direct with the parents they simply stated that they were afraid the parents would be upset and that past attempts at discussing this had been rebuffed. Unfortunately, the discussion of a serious disability is not an easy topic. Parents often are upset with the messenger initially and want to blame someone. They may cry and refuse to listen. However, the job of a special education teacher, administrator, and special education attorney is not an easy one. It requires an honesty that is often difficult for the messenger as well as for the intended recipients of this message. We often have to deliver bad news or at least not the kind of news parents are delighted to hear.  We cannot refuse to be as honest, caring and forthright as possible despite how uncomfortable it makes us feel. To deliver a half truth or to ignore the reality is a disservice to the child, the parents and to our professionalism.

Special Education: Recording IEP Meetings

A common question in my office relates to whether parents should record IEP meetings or other meetings with the school district. My answer is almost always an unconditional no. I realize that other attorneys may give different advice on this issue but some events recently have made me feel compelled to write about this topic.

Over the years, parents have come to me with "recordings" of their IEP meetings and wanted me to listen to them. For the most part, the recording was incomprehensible, it was impossible to know who was speaking and the conversation was stilted and unhelpful. I have also found that there is no surer way to get everyone to stop talking than to announce that you will be recording their every word. Schools have traditionally also arranged to tape the meeting when this happens. However, no real exchange happens. People simply quit communicating.

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to mention an aspect of Illinois Law, known as the Illinois Wiretapping Law. This law is a two-party consent law. Illinois makes it a crime to use an eavesdropping device to overhear or record a phone call or conversation without the consent of all parties to the conversation. The law defines an eavesdropping device as "any device capable of being used to hear or record oral conversation or intercept, retain or transcribe electronic communication whether such conversation or electronic communication is conducted in person, by telephone, or by any other means." 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/14-1, 2. You must get consent before recording any conversation. In addition to the criminal penalties, you can also be sued civilly for damages. This includes I-pads, pens that act as a recorder, phones or any device capable of recording.

Students with Disabilities Exempt from Physical Education Classes if they Play Other Sports. 

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation on July 28, 2013, that allows student athletes with disabilities to be exempt from physical education classes if they play other sports, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The law extends an exemption that already existed for non-disabled students, the newspaper said. Under that exemption, school boards can allow high school juniors and seniors to opt out of P.E. for reasons including that they participate in sports or need credits, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Under the new law, which takes effect immediately, student athletes with disabilities can be exempt from P.E. if they are involved in adaptive athletic programs, the newspaper said.

Juvenile Justice: 17 Year Olds to be Tried in Juvenile Court

A new law that will permit 17 year olds charged with felony crimes to be tried in juvenile rather than adult court is a critical piece of reform legislation designed to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. This law is in response to the growing awareness that youth are still in the process of development and that rehabilitation is appropriate. The law is consistent with the recognition that we are over incarcerating young people and others in this society. The trend over the last decades has been a punitive based approach with little focus on rehabilitation.
Introducing Joe Scally, J.D.

Joe Scally has been with The Child and Family Law Center since 2001. He came to The Child and Family Law Center from the Clinical Evaluation Service Initiative (CESI) where he served for six years as clinical co-director of a project that examined how the Cook County Juvenile Court used mental health information in delinquency and abuse and neglect cases. CESI was a joint project of Northwestern Law School and the University of Chicago Hospital initiated by Chief Judge O'Connell.

Joe has a B.A. from University of Notre Dame, an M.A. in clinical psychology from DePaul University, and a J.D. from the University of Illinois Law School. He has experience in school law, guardianship, criminal and juvenile justice, mental health law, special needs trusts, and abuse and neglect cases.

The Child and Family Law Center's approach to helping children and families is a natural fit for Joe. In addition to his work as an attorney, he has many years of experience as a child therapist and has taught graduate school classes in ethics and mental health law. He has also been a trainer for seven years for the Positive Coaching Alliance, a not-for-profit based at Stanford University dedicated to promoting positive sports cultures for youth and high school athletes. He is a frequent presenter on mental health and related topics.

Lisle Office

The Child and Family Law Center is pleased to announce the opening of a branch office in Lisle, Illinois. Attorneys Micki Moran and Joe Scally will meet with clients by appointment at 5950-E Lincoln, Lisle, IL.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 847-926-0101.

The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore is a unique legal practice that specializes in providing legal services to families and children in the areas of special education, IEP consultations, divorce and custody, parenting agreements, mediation, guardianship and juvenile law, including criminal law, DCFS and mental health. Where possible, we have initiated flat fee billing for appropriate matters.


The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore 

1950 Sheridan Rd.

Suite 201

Highland Park, IL 60035 


For more information about The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, please call 847-926-0101 or visit our website at 

Micki Moran
The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore