The Beacon
Journal of Special Education Law & Practice
ISSN: 1536-7193                               

Fall 2001 (V. 1, N. 2)

In this Issue

The Choreography of Trial Preparation

The Toy Box

Do Documents Speak for Themselves?

Paper Trails: Documents Exhibit Lists & Due Process Hearings

Observations from the Transom

Editorial Policy


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Special education law is an exciting, rapidly developing area of law.

The Beacon
, the new electronic journal of special education law and practice from Harbor House Law Press, publishes articles and essays for attorneys and advocates who represent children with disabilities and others who are interested in special education legal topics.

Each issue of The Beacon focuses on a theme and includes practical and theoretical articles. We think you will enjoy Observations from the Transom, a new column by our managing editor.

In the next issue, we will tackle "Battles of Expert Witnesses. The first issue focused on mediation and negotiation. If you are interested in submitting an article to The Beacon, please review our Submissions Policy.

The Beacon seeks to ensure that all children with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 and that children with disabilities are free from discrimination. We believe the dialogue in this journal will help to shape the future.

Our goal is to publish useful, readable content. If you are interested in special education law and practice, we think you will enjoy The Beacon.

Theme: The Paper Chase

This issue of The Beacon includes articles by several attorneys and advocates about how to organize, manage and use documents in special education litigation. Although each contributor developed different approaches, you will learn that they agree on several key issues.

This issue includes Observations from the Transom, the new column by our managing editor.

Feature Articles

The articles in this issue of The Beacon: The Journal of Special Education Law and Practice were selected to help you organize, manage and use documents.

In The Choreography of Trial Preparation, trial attorney Barbara Ebenstein describes choreography, music, and trial preparation as creative endeavors. Instead movement or music, the litigator uses the medium of information from documents and the testimony of witnesses.

Ebenstein eloquently describes the balance of spontaneity and simplicity. When you examine documents, she explains that you should look for "negative space." Ms. Ebenstein shares her father's wise advice - "Read law!" Read article

In The Toy Box, attorney Lisa Chaldize describes cases as stories to be told. Instead of a single narrator, stories are told in different words and by different people. Ms Chaldize explains that documents can help you orchestrate these voices so they tell the story fluently, without duplication or disharmony. Ms. Chaldize describes how you can use documents that "scream negligence or bad faith." Read article

Do Documents Speak for Themselves? If you examine documents carefully, you are likely to find the battle-winning theme of your case. Learn to organize documents, recognize common fact-finding blunders, collect all records from all sources, and avoid "case-killer" arguments. Read article

Paper Trails: Documents, Exhibit Lists and Due Process Hearings. Pete Wright describes a systematic, step-by-step approach to organizing and maintaining documents generated in special education litigation from the initial interview through pre-trial preparation. Read article

Observations from the Transom Do you know the origin of the term "tied up in red tape"? Do you know who invented "Whiteout" - and why? For humor and a change of pace, read Observations from the Transom by managing editor Brice Palmer.


From the Editor

Future issues of The Beacon will focus on damages, class action litigation, documents and education records, and revisiting FAPE. We welcome article submissions and ideas for articles and issues. We are interested in articles by new contributors. To contribute an article, please review our submissions policy.


The Beacon is free of charge. You may subscribe by entering your email address in the "Subscribe Box" at the top of this page. Please forward The Beacon to friends and colleagues.

About Harbor House Law Press

Learn about our mission at Harbor House Law Press.