Wayne D. Steedman
Wayne D. Steedman is a senior partner with The Steedman Law Group, with over twenty-four years’ experience as a special education attorney. He began solo practice in 1991, and was a founding partner of the law firm Callegary & Steedman, where he practiced for over 18 years. Wayne’s practice is devoted primarily to the representation of children with disabilities, as well as adults seeking accommodations and supports in post-graduate education and examinations. Wayne has represented clients in administrative due process hearings, Maryland state courts, Federal District Court and the Third and Fourth Circuit Courts of Appeals. He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Steedman earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. In addition to his law degree, Mr. Steedman holds a Master’s of Social Work from University of Maryland’s School of Social Work. Prior to practicing law, he was in charge of the clinical treatment program at the Forbush School at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, where he worked with children with emotional disabilities for more than twenty years. He served for approximately ten years as a Due Process Hearing Officer in special education cases. He has been engaged as a nationally-known speaker on numerous topics related to special education law through Wrightslaw, [www.wrightslaw.com], and offers both training for new attorneys and presentations for parents and advocates through COPAA, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates [http://www.copaa.org] as well as through local schools and advocacy organizations. He is on the Boards of Directors for the Arc of Northern Chesapeake, [www.arcncr.org] which supports residential programming and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and for Family and Children’s Services of Harford County, [www.fcsmd.org] which provides social services, counseling, and advocacy for families needing intervention. He is also the founder of MDSEL, the Maryland Special Education Lawyers’ group, which facilitates sharing of information and support among special ed attorneys in the state.
In one of his earliest federal cases, Gerstmyer v. Howard County Public Schools, 850 F. Supp. 361 (D. Md. 1994), Mr. Steedman persuaded the U.S. District Court that the school district should reimburse parents for the costs of a Montessori School program, after their child was denied FAPE by the public school system. Thus, the Judge found that even a placement which was not a traditional special education school could be deemed appropriate for a student with disabilities. Through his many years of pursuing remedies through administrative due process, Mr. Steedman has achieved numerous victories for parents seeking funding of appropriate educational placements for their children, including recent decisions in C.S. v. Baltimore City Public School System, (funding of a Utah Residential Program); J.F. v. Harford County Public Schools, (funding of placement at the Baltimore Lab School); P.B. v. Baltimore City Public School System, (funding of placement at the Delrey School) M.R. v. Carroll County Public Schools, (funding of placement at the Delrey School) as well as favorable negotiated settlements with several local school systems.
Cheryl A. Steele Steedman
Cheryl A. Steele Steedman is a partner with the Steedman Law Group, and was a senior associate with the law firm of Callegary & Steedman P.A., where she began practicing in 2012. Prior to admission to the bar, she served as a paralegal in special education law cases for over ten years, advocating in IEP meetings and assisting with due process hearings in multiple school districts throughout the state. Cheryl’s focus has been guiding and educating parents as they navigate the IEP and 504 processes for their children, and balancing collaborative advocacy, negotiation through mediation and resolution, and assertion of the student’s rights through due process. Cheryl is a member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and has co-presented informational sessions and webinars on functional behavior assessments and intervention plans.
Cheryl received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. During her early years of law school, she was awarded Maryland Public Interest Law Project grant to serve as an intern for the Maryland Disability Law Center, and she worked as a student attorney with the University of Maryland Law School’s Juvenile Law Clinic, where she represented children in special education and custody cases, as well as CINA proceedings. She was also honored to earn the American Jurisprudence Award for her course work in family law and mediation.
Before pursuing her legal education and career, Cheryl earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology at the University of Maryland in College Park, focusing on child development and children’s mental health. She worked for several years as a milieu therapist at Villa Maria, a residential treatment facility for children with emotional disabilities and special education needs, where she developed and implemented behavioral incentive plans and supports, piloted a new facility-wide service model, and co-sponsored an art therapy group.
Cheryl has extensive personal experience as a parent advocating for a child with learning differences. She is the proud mother of two successful young adults; one pursuing her master’s degree in speech-language pathology, and one pursuing his bachelor’s in computer science.
She is admitted to practice in the Court of Appeals for Maryland and the United States District Court for Maryland.