On Demand Audio

An Attorney's Guide to IEP and 504 Plans: Which is Best for Your Client?

(1k+ reviews)

Produced on August 06, 2019

$ 59 Education In Stock
Get started now

$299 / year - Access to this Course and 1,500+ Lawline courses


Course Information

Time 1h 3m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Education

Course Description

Both IEPs and 504s can provide support to a child with a disability, but they have different eligibility requirements and are triggered by different laws. An IEP derives from the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and a 504 Plan derives from Section 504 of the Act of 1973. Section 504 has a broader definition of a disability, so sometimes a child that does not qualify for an IEP is sometimes eligible under 504. The more complicated question is whether a child’s needs be met with a 504 as opposed to an IEP. This program, taught by Debra Clifford and Mary Frances Palisano of Gibbons Law, will provide an overview of the differences between these two plans, and practical tips on determining the best plan for your client and successfully advocating for their rights in school. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe an IEP versus a 504 Plan
  2. Identify relevant laws that relate to IEPs and 504 Plans
  3. Review the eligibility requirements for both
  4. Advise clients on what supports each can provide
  5. Discuss the differences in the form, content, notices, review process, resolution of disputes
  6. Determine if an IEP or 504 is best for a child

Note: This course is approved for GAL for children in Virginia. If you would like a GAL certificate, please email our Customer Support team after completing the course.

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Ms. Clifford is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on general complex commercial litigation and, in particular, education matters. As a mother of children with special needs, Ms. Clifford understands the many challenges and struggles parents encounter when advocating for their children. Because of her own personal experiences, she has a passion and commitment to help others benefit from the knowledge she has gained as both an attorney and a parent and serves as a leader of the firm’s Child Advocacy Team.

Ms. Clifford’s commercial litigation practice encompasses a broad range of litigation matters for public and private companies and individuals. Throughout her career, she has represented clients in trial and appellate work in state and federal courts of New York and New Jersey and has handled a number of arbitrations and mediations. Ms. Clifford has effectively managed large teams of attorneys to efficiently and effectively defend the firm’s clients.

A tenacious advocate and trusted legal advisor, Ms. Palisano understands how stressful it is for a client to be accused of a crime or for a family whose child has a legal issue. Ms. Palisano is an experienced litigator who focuses her practice on criminal defense, juvenile proceedings, school discipline matters, and special education. Ms. Palisano appreciates what is at stake not only for her clients, but for their families, too, and she has a deep-rooted commitment to working diligently to determine the most effective strategies and appropriate goals in each client’s unique situation.

Ms. Palisano began her legal career handling criminal cases in the trial division of the Legal Aid Society and has been practicing in the area of criminal defense for nearly 20 years. She is a vigorous protector of her clients’ rights, and her clients benefit from her unique, out-of-the-box thinking that comes only from experience. Ms. Palisano’s criminal defense practice includes counseling clients in all phases of criminal proceedings and quasi-criminal matters, including state charges, federal crimes, juvenile proceedings, internal investigations, and municipal court matters.

In the area of child advocacy, Ms. Palisano advocates for children with special needs so that they can obtain the education they need and have a right to receive, providing legal advice related to Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations, attending meetings with the child study teams, enforcing and revising IEPs, obtaining 504 plans, and handling mediation and due process hearings, among other services. With the right strategies and negotiation, many special education cases can be settled through conferences or mediation, but if needed, Ms. Palisano vigorously defends the rights of her clients through litigation. Ms. Palisano also provides representation when children are threatened with disciplinary action or are victims of students’ behavior.


Michael B.



Outstanding resources and materials on a technical and important subject.

Hirobumi A.

Good information to know, in order to counsel parents with school age children with various disabilities.


Presenters were knowledgeable and provided excellent information.

Hannah C.

Would like a more in depth study of this topic.

Kurt C.


Carrie K.

Great program providing practical steps need for enhancing in the 504 and IEP process.

Elizabeth A. L.

Suitable as an overview but more for clients than practitioners. Presenters clearly knowledgeable.

Micheal D.

As a parent of a child with a IEP I found this informative on many levels.

Lauren A.

Very good

Anne B.

Very helpful - thank you.

Tom D.

Excellent presentation.

Dennis C.

Amazing how mush was covered in just one hour. Well organized and well done.

William T.


Claire L.


Diana W.

the instructor speaking from personal experience showed such passion around this topic and definitely spoke from authority

Allen H.

Good comparison and contrast for IEP versus 504

Susan S.

This was a very useful and comprehensive review of the similarities and differences between the IEP and 504 plans. I think a lot of parents could benefit from this information, and so I'm glad I was able to view this course. It's a nice overview for attorneys who may not practice in this area, but feel that they want a better understanding of the subject matter.

Benjamin H.

good presentation

Elizabeth P.

very informative

Holly H.

Very practical and easy for follow -- excellent programs for parents and attorneys

Jon K.

Thank you. That was very helpful. I liked how straight-forward and practical it was. Exactly what I had hoped! Thanks.

Scott R.


Harold B.

Well presented

Pamela K.

Excellent. Got a lot of good and clear information into a 1-hour session.

Dana C.

Found it interesting and informative!

Garrett L S.

Very good for a beginner's understanding of these laws.

Megan H.

Great CLE. Very informative.

Ilene L.

Excellent program with both legal and practical advice. The presenters are clearly very passionate about their work.

Marian B.

Very clear explanations and slides.

Jeff A.

It was very informative session for someone not familiar with the area. I feel educated enough to carry a conversation on the topic now. Thank you.

Lara W.

Good class.

John D.

This was a topic that I did not know much about and the two lecturers did a very good job in giving a good comprehensive overview.

Winifred C.

Well done. Was presented well for such a complex subject.

Deborah Lynn W.

One of the better courses I have taken in terms of presenter effectiveness.

Nicholas C.


Load More