Tracey Spencer Walsh is a 1994 graduate of the Fordham University School of Law and has also taught the “Special Education Law" course as an Adjunct Law Professor at Fordham Law School. Tracey also is the Co-Founder and Vice Chair of the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Special Education.
Tracey has litigated and settled hundreds of IDEA cases for private school tuition reimbursement on behalf of students with disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, learning disabilities, and emotional disturbance. Tracey has also been successful in cases involving compensatory education.
Tracey also is experienced in arguing sophisticated special education law appeals in federal courts, including in the Circuit Courts of Appeals. Tracey is admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut and also is admitted to the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Second and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Tracey successfully argued R.K. v. New York City Dept of Educ. before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, helping to define the limits of the “due deference” doctrine in New York, Connecticut and Vermont. Tracey also argued before the Eleventh Circuit in R.L. v. Miami-Dade County School Board in a case of first impression in the Eleventh Circuit involving the issue of"predetermination." In R.L. Tracey successfully argued that the school district denied R.L. a free appropriate public education ("FAPE") when it illegally predetermined the student's placement - an issue that had never been decided before by the Eleventh Circuit (which includes Florida, Georgia and Alabama).
Among numerous decisions in favor of students, Tracey also is responsible for a decision ordering the New York City Department of Education to not only “include” a student with Down Syndrome in a mainstream classroom but to hire an “inclusion specialist” and an independent Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
Tracey is widely published on a variety of special education law issues, including tuition reimbursement, funding for home services, and bullying. In addition to her writing, Tracey often is a featured speaker at national special education conferences as well as the annual conferences sponsored by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). Tracey has given presentations at COPAA's conferences and the Independent Educational Consultants' Association (IECA) conferences
Tracey has also worked on many pro bono matters, including amicus briefs filed on behalf of Autism Speaks. Tracey assisted with an exciting and important amicus brief on behalf of Autism Speaks - Ermini v. Vittori. This case involved a custody dispute under the Hague Convention. A couple, citizens of Italy came to the United States so that their son with autism could access applied behavior analysis ("ABA") intervention. The couple separated and the father returned to Italy and sought the court's intervention to return the children to him in Italy. The Second Circuit ruled that the child could remain in the United States with his mother so that he could continue his autism intervention through which he was making progress. Tracey is listed as a resource on the Autism Speaks website.