Dr. Goetz founded the first Special Education Law Clinic in California in 1996 at Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center in Los Angeles. Under Dr. Goetz’ supervision, law students from UCLA, UCI, USC, Pepperdine, Loyola, UC Hastings, Southwestern and Whittier Law Schools have provided legal assistance and direct representation for more than 2,000 children over the past 20 years.
Dr. Goetz provides law students enrolled in the Special Education Clinic with substantive analytic skills to interpret the applicable law and actively learn through direct involvement about the process and institutions of the legal justice system as it relates to children with disabilities. Clinic students develop an understanding of the policies and procedures which affect legal representation of children with disabilities in the education system. Legislation and case law in the field of special education is analyzed, and awareness and appreciation of the concerns of persons with disabilities is raised. Students learn the law on an individual case level, as it interfaces with a whole system of services: social, educational and medical.
Students get the opportunity to work on a wide variety of client matters under Dr. Goetz’ supervision, including but not limited to parent meetings, educational assessment, appropriate educational placements and related services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavior modification. Clinic students have provided legal assistance and direct representation and successfully resolved issues for families with children ages 2-24 with wide variety of diagnoses and special needs. Clinical students’ work has had a broad impact and has created system change in the quality of educational programming provided to represented children. Many of the students who participated in the clinic have gone on to become disability and/or special education attorneys upon graduation.
Dr. Goetz earned her J.D. from Whittier College School of Law. She also completed her M.A. and Ph. D. in Education Policy Analysis at UCLA. Her thesis focused on “The Effect of Membership in Parent Action Groups on the Distribution of Special Education Resources.” Dr. Goetz has taught substantive courses in Disability Law and Special Education Law since 1995 at Pepperdine Law School, Whittier Law School, and UCI School of Law. She has also co-taught Introduction to the Lawyer-Client Relationship at UCLA School of Law since 2014.