WMP_0024-webDiane’s passion for special education law stems from her own frustrating experience with the IEP process. Diane is the parent of three boys, one of whom required an IEP through all of his years in public school. While attending law school, Diane was also trying to figure out how to get her son’s educational needs met, with little success. After learning from a law professor that there were laws and legally defined educational rights, Diane knew she would spend her legal career helping families with disability-related needs.

Diane graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1996. Since that time, Diane has relentlessly advocated for students with special needs. She is licensed in both Oregon and Washington and actively represents clients throughout both states at the local, regional, state and federal levels. Diane is also admitted to practice law in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Washington, and the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.

As a special education lawyer, Diane has been most fortunate to have the opportunity to serve on numerous boards and committees. Diane currently serves on the Dispute Resolution Committee, an Oregon Department of Education work group. Diane is also a frequent speaker at various local, state, regional, and national meetings and conferences. To see a list of upcoming presentations click here.

Diane’s legal prowess and outstanding ethical practices have been recognized by various awards from the professional community. These awards include the BV Distinguished Very High Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards from LexisNexis and Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review, the Pro Bono Publico Service Commendation from the Washington State Bar Association, Honorable Mention in the Oregon State Bar Pro Bono Challenge, and Arbitrator of the year from the Better Business Bureau of Oregon.

Diane’s interests beyond her passion for disability advocacy include spending time with her husband and family, unlocking the mysteries of her family’s genealogy, scouring auctions, flea markets, and garage sales for antiques, crocheting, and playing with her adorable dogs, Oreo and Priscilla.

Comments from clients:

“We first hired Diane 11 years ago. Our son is disabled, and didn’t have a voice in the educational process. Diane became his voice: knowledgeable, effective and respected by the district we were working with. After achieving a meaningful IEP, appropriate placement, and reasonable accommodation, we continued to invite Diane to the annual IEPs as a kind of ‘insurance’ — district compliance with the law and respect for our son always increased when she was in the room. When our son moved to a facility three hours away, Diane provided the legal oversight and advocacy necessary to ensure a meaningful transition to the new school district. Her knowledge of our son and his educational history made her an outstanding advocate in that process and gave us the confidence to ask for and acquire every appropriate resource and accommodation possible. We have referred three other families to Diane, always stipulating that Diane’s first priority is to ensure that the student receives the fullest and fairest education required by law. She’s extremely careful to tell parents what they should expect, what they can achieve/acquire for their child, and what the limitations of the system are. Having Diane at the table meant I didn’t have to take notes, didn’t have to wade through the jargon of the educational system, didn’t have to decode or decipher conversations about services, didn’t have to write the letters, didn’t have to make the phone calls, didn’t have to schedule the meetings, and most importantly, didn’t have to become an expert at the law. I was free to listen, to ask questions, to give information, and to bring cookies to the meetings. Diane did the heavy lifting, held the irons to the fire, and allowed me to make cordial relationships with the educators in the room — invaluable to our son, as he was unlikely to make friends of his educators on his own. And, after eleven years, Diane stands firm as a comrade in arms — it’s nice to know someone has your back!”

“There are no words that can adequately describe the frustration I felt in trying to get the educational needs of my daughter met. It had become a full time job for me and I was still failing miserably.

It was very hard for me to go to Diane and hire her. This was partly because I felt that I had failed my own child and it was partly because I knew that it would create more tension and strife between the district and me. But it was the very best thing I could have done for my daughter because it was the beginning of a better future for my daughter.

Diane worked her way through the issues we had. She worked her way through the legal processes that were necessary for us to move forward. She did it with determination. She did it with complete competence. She did it telling us honesty about what we could and could not expect legally. And she did it with her heart.

When everything was finished my daughter received the educational services that helped her to progress and learn to the level of her abilities.

Some people tell me I beat the district. Some people tell me that I am a hero. Others say that I am a role model for other parents. None of that is important to me. What is important to me is that I am a parent of a beautiful daughter with a disability. She now has many more opportunities open to her in her life because of the education that she has been able to receive.

She would not have those opportunities available to her without the help of Diane Wiscarson. In my book Diane is the hero.”

“The only regret I have is that we did not contact Diane sooner. I initially hired an advocate whose intervention made it evident that the district would need the threat of due process before considering realistic services for my grandson. Diane’s expertise was evident immediately and gave me confidence in taking the necessary next steps. She provided a great deal of service for a very reasonable fee. She dealt with us with compassion that is likely born out her own experience as the parent of a child requiring IEP services. She interacted with a genuineness that certainly does not correlate with my stereotype of her profession. I recommend her without hesitation to anyone having difficulty acquiring FAPE for their student.”

“Diane is an absolute Godsend to our family. Our son {who was 13 at the time} was failing the 8th grade because his school was not following his IEP. We retained Diane and within a month, our son went from a 1.7 GPA to above a 3.0! As much as we were strong advocates for our son, Diane was there to make sure the system was working FOR him! She thoroughly reviewed all documentation and was steadfast in meetings. She didn’t take any crap from anyone and made sure that his best interests were looked after. Our youngest son has just qualified for an IEP and you can bet that if he has any struggles with his school following his IEP and working FOR him, we will be calling Diane! She is the BEST!”

“I wanted to take a moment and write you so you’ll know how wonderful you are. My son has been doing so much better. He still has his bad days, but is in control of himself and happier. He went through a lot before you were called in. From constant neglect from his teachers, he was not learning and hated school. He was put on meds at the first part of the year and was off of them by the second month of school. He has built such a bond with the principal of his school and his teacher, and he even has some friends. You are a powerful woman and that’s something that I admire, and I’m thankful that we found you in time.”

“Diane, Don’t know if I told you how much we appreciated your leadership! After those meetings I’m always in a state of emotional exhaustion and fail to say how grateful I am. I really felt that all of us collectively said what needed to be said. Thank you for reading the “list” and taking charge of it all! You are very good at what you do and that takes care of much of our stress and sleepless nights. That leaves us with more time to care for [our child] and her daily needs. A big thanks to you and your team!!!!!”

“Thank you for the amazing and professional advocacy you used to help [my son]. I recommend your office (Diane’s office) to everyone that I meet who may have special needs advocacy issues for their kids. Your office is amazing. I could not have gotten through the last year, nor would [my son], without feeling like someone cared and was trying to help improve the situation.”

“Diane was always professional and an aggressive advocate for her clients, while being sympathetic and empathetic to parental concerns for the child. I would recommend Diane to any parent looking for assistance for their children as she will handle the case with the same attention and passion as she would a case for her own child. Our family was in crisis when we met Diane and she assisted the family through multiple layers of issues while advocating for proper school accommodations. Diane will advocate for all children to receive a free and appropriate public education and she is passionate about her belief in assisting children in reaching their maximum academic and personal potential. If a case proceeds to a formal hearing or litigation you could not be in better hands than having Diane as your attorney.”

“Supported us and our son in obtaining access to appropriate Special Education services. Worked with district through the IEP process. When that failed to correct needed program and support, filed Due Process on our son’s behalf with the state. Walked us through the process explaining our options along the way and helping us with those decisions. Fees and expenses clearly presented up front. Billing was accurate and fair. Also assisted in helping us file for guardianship for our adult son. Went smoothly and was completed in a timely manner. Felt comfortable and confident in Diane Wiscarson’s ability to be our representative in these two legal matters. Would recommend her without reservation.”

“My son dealt with Diane for (4) years and Diane’s top priority is how her client is doing in every way. She is top notch professional, classy and gets done what needs to be done in a professional way. Her prices are fair and whenever a problem came up, she took care of it right away. Due to her and my son’s hard work, he just graduated high school and without Diane’s services he would not be graduated today! Thanks so much – you’re the best!!”