Initial Consultation & Retainer Costs

For many parents that have child with a disability, the field of special education law is a complex maze riddled with confusion, emotion and lack of transparent trusted resources. At Forte Law Group, we provide clarity and listen to your parental concerns. We have over 54 combined years of legal experience and exclusively represent families that have a child with a disability. We are your first call and first choice when it comes to special education law.

We begin our engagement process with parents by first conducting an initial comprehensive legal consultation. We charge a consultation fee for a comprehensive one hour in-person or video conference initial legal consultation. We understand that many other special education lawyers offer “free consultations.”

We do not – and for 5 good reasons:

1. You Will Consult with an Experienced Special Education Lawyer.

Very few special education law firms that advertise to offer a “free consultation” actually allow you to personally meet with an experienced special education attorney for over one hour before you formally retain their services. Many offer just 15 or 30 minutes without reviewing any of your child’s school records in advance of meeting with you. We are different. At Forte Law Group, Attorney Jeff Forte personally meets with every prospective client for at least one hour before you formally retain our firm as your counsel.

2. Our Initial Legal Consultation Is a Learning Tool for You.

Our comprehensive one-hour legal consultation with you is intended to be a teachable, educational moment for new prospective clients. We present you with the initial strengths and weaknesses of your child’s special education claims. The fact you have decided to meet with a special education lawyer often means you have determined there is a legal problem that you are unable to resolve, and is beyond your parental expertise or you simply want someone to be in your corner, advising you on your child’s rights. We believe your initial legal consultation should function solely for the benefit of providing you with detailed legal insights and knowledge about how we can help your child by explaining the law and how it may be applied to the facts of your child’s special education.

During your consultation, we will listen to your concerns, discuss the documents that we have reviewed and present you with potential outcomes. At the conclusion of the consultation, we will provide our initial legal assessment and make appropriate recommendations with the full understanding that not all legal issues require a lawsuit, or even a lawyer. Parents that meet with our firm through our comprehensive consultation process leave far more knowledgeable than when they first walked in.

3. We Are Serious About Understanding Your Child’s Challenges and Come Prepared.

Because all new clients must schedule an initial legal cosultation with us in advance, we set-aside time to prepare for our meeting with you. We comprehensively review your submitted intake form. We initially assess your child’s IEP and evaluations. We preliminarily analyze and assess your legal claims under the law. We prepare a legal strategy and discuss the legal success and risks of your claims. We utilize our experience and resources to propose how to best advance your child’s special education.

4. We Want to Ensure You Are Just as Serious As We Are About Your Child’s Education.

We are serious lawyers with passion for the cases and children we undertake to represent. We have serious clients with serious legal issues. Many of our clients refer us to their friends and colleagues and invite us to present at community special education parent groups. We represent families across the entire state of Connecticut and have collaborated, mediated and/or litigated with almost every school district and their district board counsel. We watch the children that we represent grow and thrive as the result of our work in legally advancing their special education rights. The bottom line is we obtain results and deliver measurable value to our clients. Our clients understand that practicing special education law is our passion. If you do not believe that your child’s case merits a comprehensive legal consultation with an experienced, passionate special education lawyer that reviews your child’s records in advance of your meeting and presents with potential measurable legal solutions, we may not be the best fit for you.

5. No Time Wasted, All Costs Explained.

All prospective clients are provided with actionable items and a go-forward legal strategy that we will strive to achieve for the betterment of your child. There is no time wasted talking about our experience, our results, or other “sales” type jargon during your time in your initial legal consultation. We trust that all prospective clients have already initially researched our firm by doing any or all of the following: reviewed our website, looked at our practice areas, read our professional bios, listened to our podcast, watched our videos, read our special education law blog, followed us on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter, and/or have spoken with a member of our parent engagement team. We lay out a proposed legal strategy and explain all the anticipated costs to achieve that result upfront with you. We do not take a “let’s wait and see” approach to your child’s education. For more information about our firm’s culture, read our firm’s Core Values.

Retainer Costs

Warren Buffet says “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.”

At Forte Law Group your initial legal retainer amount is based on several factors some of which include the anticipated level and scope of our legal engagement, the forecasted amount of time needed to investigate and research your claims, and the complexity of your case.

The retainer amount will be an up-front, sum of money that will be deposited into our law firm’s trust account from which our attorneys and legal staff bill their time against, at their assigned competitive hourly rates. Your retainer deposit is kept in a separate client trust account and only transferred to our firm’s operating account when it is earned by our firm doing work on your case.

We occasionally offer hybrid payment plans, such as monthly fixed fees for a certain scope of legal consultation work and also “cap” our fees for mediation and due process litigation so families can budget their expenses. Often times a parent may very well need to tap into their child’s college or trust fund now in order to ensure their child will be able to successfully attend college in the future or in certain circumstances plan for their future needs now in order to achieve some level of independence or residential/group home support. We also accept credit card payments through our firm’s LawPay portal system.

The initial retainer amount is not to be confused with our estimation of the total cost of achieving a resolution to your situation. It is very likely that the retainer amount will not cover the total cost of your case. Your total cost of your legal representation with our firm, especially in special education litigation cases, depends on a number of factors that will be more fully explained to you during your initial legal consultation.

In certain outplacement mediation and litigation-based cases we also successfully secure district funds towards appropriate private evaluations and outplacement-based schools. Over the years we have secured millions of district tax dollars towards appropriate private outplacements and private evaluations. We also receive attorneys’ fees from districts in certain cases under the fee-shifting provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. View our recent results page to learn more about our victories.

Next Steps

All our prospective clients can always call our firm for a free 15-minute call with a member of our parent engagement team. Our website also has a vast number of resources, including:

Blog: What A Parent-Client Should Expect At Their First Legal Consultation with a Connecticut Special Education Attorney – by Jeffrey L. Forte, Esq.

Video Blog: Searching For the Right Connecticut Special Education Attorney – by Jeffrey L. Forte, Esq.

Podcast: The Attorney/Client Relationship: What To Expect at the Initial Legal Consultation with a Special Education Attorney – Let’s Talk Sped Law Podcast, by Jeffrey L. Forte, Esq.

If you are ready to begin, schedule your free 15-minute call with a member of our parent engagement team by clicking here.


Legal Disclaimer: The purpose of this page is intended to provide you with a general overview of retaining Forte Law Group to represent you. The scope and terms of legal representation are reflected in a written legal retainer and may differ from the exact information that is generally provided herein.  The content of this page does not establish an attorney/client relationship.