Paul N. Barger and Lori M. Gaines are pleased to announce the opening of Barger & Gaines, a law firm dedicated to advocating for the educational rights of students of all ages and abilities.
This is a unique firm formed by two attorneys who met as adversaries in 2006. At that time, Paul was a school board attorney and Lori was representing families in disputes with school boards. Paul and Lori developed a great deal of respect for each other and remained friends for the past eight years, despite multiple cases where they counseled opposing parties.
Paul gathered eight years of inside knowledge of how school districts operate until he decided in March 2011 that he was on the “wrong” side of these disputes. Paul’s experience is the perfect complement to the practical experience that Lori has as a former special education teacher. Paul and Lori have now joined together and will use their respective experiences to provide concerned families the advocacy needed to help them achieve their goals for their children.
Paul earned his B.A. at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1996, and then received his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School in 1999. He began his legal career as a litigator at a major law firm in Chicago, Illinois, and began his career as a school law attorney in 2003. Paul “switched sides” in March 2011 and founded the law firm of Kalac & Barger. In January 2012, Paul opened the Barger Law Group, with a primary focus on the representations of families in disputes with public school districts, private schools, and colleges and universities.
Lori commenced her career in special education as a teacher, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education, summa cum laude, from New York University, and a Master of Arts degree in Special Education, suma cum laude, from Teachers College, Columbia University. Lori taught in an out-of-district special education school in New York City and then in San Diego. During her teaching years she devoted a great deal of her time to advocating for the needs of her students. Lori decided to pursue her advocacy further by attending law school and embarking on a career as a special education attorney. Lori earned her Juris Doctor Degree, cum laude, from the University of San Diego. Lori worked for the past eight years exclusively in the area of special education law and now joins Paul for Barger & Gaines. One of Lori’s cases, D.S. and A.S. o/b/o D.S. v. Bayonne Board of Education, was litigated through trial and two rounds of appeal, concluding with a final decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. This precedent-setting decision, which positively impacted the ability of parents of students with disabilities to obtain appropriate educational programs, was named one of the top ten special education cases in the country in 2010.
Barger & Gaines will handle all matters in NJ and NY arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, including, but not limited to eligibility, classification, the right to appropriate programming, placement in out-of-district schools, placement in residential schools, changes to in-district programming, and compensatory education. The firm will also handle guardianship, residency disputes, disciplinary matters, bullying claims, improper supervision in schools, accommodations in the college setting, and any other matters involving students’ rights to educational programming, services and accommodations.