“As a parent with children with disabilities, I have a personal understanding and connection that helps me relate to my clients needs. I am patient, nurturing, dedicated and more importantly I add heart, lightness, and humor for any situation that parents are going through.” – Patricia S. Phelan
Patricia S. Phelan is a solo practitioner with an established Rockland County Firm dedicated exclusively to supporting parents of children with disabilities in need of navigating all aspects of special education law. She is also certified by NYSED to preside over impartial due process hearings between parents of children with disabilities and their school districts. Ms. Phelan’s extensive litigation background includes positions as Senior Assistant District Attorney and Senior Trial Attorney at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY.
Unable to identify a law firm that could appropriately represent her eldest daughter (who had a disability) with the integrity and diligence Ms. Phelan knew her daughter deserved, Ms. Phelan recognized a critical void she needed to fill. Applying her legal experience as an assistant district attorney and litigator in private firms, Ms. Phelan developed her own law practice, with the philosophy and ideals she was confident were critical to be successful in the field of special education law. Ms. Phelan brings to her law practice a lifetime of compassion, personal understanding of children with disabilities and their loved ones, and many years of practical experience.
Ms. Phelan identifies with the parent who feels misunderstood or not heard by his/her school district; the parent who is overwhelmed by confusing volumes of documents; and the parent who is unsure about how to make sense of this process. Ms. Phelan is personally invested in helping the families and children with whom she works navigate “the system,” decode and understand the paperwork and relevant law, and put the pieces together, so they feel organized and empowered throughout their advocacy to support their child’s needs.
She credits her success with being a relentless advocate for her clients, while respecting the importance of working with a student’s school district and keeping an open mind when exploring all potential options. She comprises a unique but essential combination of resilience and collaboration, in order to successfully represent her clients.
Ms. Phelan received her J.D. Degree in 1989 from Washington University School of Law where she was an Associate Editor and published author on the Law Review. She received her B.S. Degree in Psychology in 1981 from Union College. Ms. Phelan is admitted to practice law in both the States of New York and Connecticut.
Ms. Phelan is a member of Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates and of the Educational Law Committee of the Westchester Women’s Bar Association. Ms. Phelan is also a very active Donor, Volunteer and Walk Team Captain for Autism Speaks. In 2019, the Rockland County Director of the Office for People with Disabilities appointed Ms. Phelan to serve on the “Challenge Collaborative” which is a Committee that unites communal efforts in advocating for and supporting persons with disabilities and their families to maximize access to health, well-being, educational and employment resources.
In addition to her selection as one of Who’s Who Top Attorneys of North America, in 2018, based upon the recommendations of her clients, Ms. Phelan was named one of Hudson Valley Parents’ Favorite Lawyers. As a volunteer for over 10 years, Autism Speaks has honored Ms. Phelan on numerous occasions for her dedication and work on behalf of Autism Speaks (holding positions including Walk Chairperson during numerous years), her Law Office’s financial contributions as a Walk Sponsor, being the annual team captain of her Walk Team KATIE’S KAMPers, and has been recognized numerous times as the GHV’s leading fundraiser (honored over the years with accolades including both Platinum and Crystal Supporters awards). In 2013 Ms. Phelan won PULSES Outstanding Service Award in the Parents’ Category.
Ms. Phelan is married 21 years to her husband, James, who is a high school teacher and former law enforcement officer. The Phelan’s live in Rockland County and are very proud of their three beautiful children Kaitlin, Ashley and Michael.
The Top Attorneys of North America, a New York based publication, distinguishes and profiles leading attorneys who have reached a recognizable degree of success and leadership in their field. The directory is valued for promoting awareness of the accomplishments within the North American legal community.