The Special Education Attorney Who Was Not
Howard D. Deiner passed himself off as a special education attorney. But some frustrated Washington, DC area parents are learning that Deiner likely wasn’t licensed to practice law even as he took on their cases.
The District of Columbia Bar alleges that Deiner practiced without a license for three years. Meanwhile police in Virginia have charged him with fraud and practicing without a license in that state.
Parents report being sucked in by Deiner — who sometimes told them he had a child with a disability — and then losing the cases in which they had retained Denier to represent their interests. Records indicate Deiner racked up thousands of dollars in fees from numerous clients — at $285 an hour — often for doing little or no work. Some families have turned around and sued Deiner to recoup costs.
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Deiner does have a history as a licensed attorney working in labor law, but his license to practice law in the District of Columbia was suspended after he failed to renew it in 2005. Since Deiner began representing families in special education cases, he gained a clientele through parent networks and listings on Web sites of organizations like the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and the Autism Society of America, neither of which currently list him.
Despite the numerous charges and claims against Deiner, he remains listed as a lawyer on at least two autism-related Web sites. And, other attorneys in the field say he is still representing families.
It is legal for Deiner to work as an advocate in internal school district hearings, but without a law license a person cannot represent others in court proceedings, reports The Washington Post. To read more click here.