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Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley Launches Special Education Practice

Los Angeles Partner Kim Karelis, Father of Two Special Needs Kids, Leads Effort - 1/20/2011

LOS ANGELES – Jan. 20, 2011 – Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley (RMKB) (www.RMKB.com) recently formed a Special Education Practice, led by Los Angeles Partner Kim Karelis.  This new practice involves representing students with disabilities in disputes with school districts regarding the free and appropriate public education (FAPE) mandated by federal and state law. 

“As the father of two children with special needs, I have experienced firsthand the challenges of trying to secure the school placement and related services that these kids desperately need to thrive.  Unfortunately, I have met many other parents of special-needs kids who share similar experiences and have essentially been overpowered by school districts through the use of the legal system,” said Karelis.  “This was the impetus for the launch of the Special Education Practice.  I am fortunate to be part of a firm that completely supports my handling of these cases allowing me to utilize my legal skills to help other parents of children with disabilities.” 

RMKB attorneys counsel parents regarding the often bewildering terminology and documentation commonly used by school districts, and help parents resolve disputes and secure appropriate placement and services for their children.  The firm’s cases are handled on a contingency basis and fees are recovered solely from the school districts under federal law. 

For those students who experience persistent denial of appropriate classroom placement and/or services by a school district, the firm aggressively pursues the students’ rights before the California Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).  Additionally, RMKB counsels clients regarding the protection of students’ “stay put” rights, which prohibit school districts from making any changes to a student’s classroom placement or services until the dispute has been fully resolved by the OAH, or by the federal courts on appeal.

Karelis added, “As the nationwide budget crisis grips local school districts, certain educational programs designed for special-needs kids have been cut.  As a result, many districts are ignoring the laws that require a level playing field for children with disabilities.” 

In addition to his special education law practice, Karelis serves as an expert witness and auditor regarding legal fee disputes in all types of litigation.  Karelis’ practice also includes insurance coverage disputes and litigation.  He received his J.D., cum laude, from the Southwestern University School of Law (1994). 
Based in Redwood City, Calif. and with offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles, New York and Boston, Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley conducts a multi-service practice offering litigation and transactional services to domestic and international businesses and individuals.  The firm's practice areas include appellate; corporate law and business litigation; banking and consumer credit; construction; real estate; employment; environmental; professional liability; intellectual property; insurance coverage, bad faith and regulatory matters; fidelity and surety; product liability; asset protection, estate planning and tax.  For more information, visit www.rmkb.com.