Leadership and Professional Experience

Font Size » Large | Small

Jaclyn Okin Barney, Esq.

Private Disability Rights Legal Practice (February 2010 – Present)

Legal Representation and Individual Advocacy

  •  Represent families to obtain appropriate educational services
  • Served as Guardian ad-Litem to protect student’s rights in special education matters
  • Advocate on behalf of families to obtain long-term residential placements through the NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities
  • Mentor junior attorney in representing children with disabilities

University Teaching

  • Serving as Adjunct Professor at CUNY School of Professional Studies teaching “Disability Policy and the Law,” January 2014 to Present
  • Served in Fall 2015 as Adjunct Professor at Baruch College School of Public Affairs teaching “Introduction to the Law and Disability Rights”
  • Served in Spring 2011 as Adjunct Professor at Baruch College School of Public Affairs teaching “Disability Issues in the Workplace and Higher Education Settings”


  • Recruited to train Senior Executives at Diageo, a Fortune 500 liquor manufacturer, on the importance of including people with disabilities in their workforce
  • Asked by Independent Living Center to train people with disabilities and their families on their rights as they transition from high school to the workforce and higher education
  • Developed and conducted trainings for parents and families on the rights of students with disabilities


  • Commissioned by the Burton Blatt Institute to draft a handbook for judges in seven southern states on the rights of people with disabilities in the courtroom
  • Wrote chapter in “Lawyers, Lead On: Lawyers with Disabilities Share their Insights” (American Bar Association, 2011)

Parents for Inclusive Education (PIE)

The only NYC group solely committed to ensuring that children with disabilities are included in all areas of their schools

Director   (May 2007 – Present)

  • Secured a two-year grant for $100,000 from the New York Community Trust to conduct campaign with other advocates to increase the accessibility of NYC public schools. As a direct result of this campaign, the City allocated $900 million over six years to improve school accessibility. Recognized by the President of the City Council in 2018 budget speech for my efforts in securing this money
    •  Produced professionally created video: NYC Students with Disabilities Speaking about Accessible Schools
    • Testified at multiple NYC City Council hearings and before the Department of Education’s Panel on Education Policy
    • Met with City Council Members and City Administration members
    • Helped coordinate two letters with approximately 60 signatures supporting additional funding for school accessibility
    • Successfully advocated to DOE officials for a policy change to prioritize the admission of students with accessibility needs to accessible school
    • Created materials to assist families who require accessible schools
  • Initiated and Co-host with the DOE an annual Inclusion Summit for students with and without disabilities from across the City to come together to talk about the importance of including student with disabilities in schools
  • Co-coordinated a student-led Speak Out on the lack of school accessibility which received media coverage
  • Co-authored, “Opinion: More Schools Must be Accessible to Disabled
  • Spearheaded various advocacy efforts, including collaborating with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) on establishing special education policies and frequently meeting with top-level special education officials
  • Successfully advocated for the DOE’s Division of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners to create a new website to educate families on special education policies and practices in New York City.
  • Drafted and presented testimony at New York City Council hearings on the City’s Special Education Reform
  • Created and organized series of “speak out” forums for parents of students with disabilities to express their thoughts and concerns about the special education system (Hosted with ARISE Coalition)
  • Received 2010 “National Outreach Award” from Kids Included Together (KIT), a California-based organization

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), New York, NY

Skadden Fellow/Staff Attorney (September 2002 – January 2010)

Special Education Legal Representation

  • Represented parents of children with disabilities in obtaining appropriate special education services through advocacy, mediation and impartial hearings
  • Coordinated multiple amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court in New York City Board of Education v. Tom F., 129 S.Ct. 987 (2007) and oversaw drafting of an amicus brief on behalf of NYLPI and the National Disability Rights Network
  • Assisted pro bono attorneys in representing parents of children with disabilities in New York City Department of Education impartial hearings

Special Education Policy

  • Presented written and oral testimony to the New York State Education Department on special education policies and regulations
  • Initiated and oversaw project to advocate for and educate high school students with disabilities to obtain transition services and be better prepared for post-graduation experiences

Law School Teaching and Trainings

  • Co-taught law school clinical education course at New York Law School during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 school years and guest lectured in subsequent school years
  • Conducted trainings for parents of students with disabilities to help them understand their children’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)


  • Investigated and advocated for improved conditions for individuals with developmental disabilities living in nursing homes. When appropriate, coordinated and advocated for residents’ transitions to the community
  • Filed petition for the appointment of a special guardian for an individual with developmental disabilities living in a nursing home without active family representation. In an evidentiary hearing in New York Supreme Court, successfully represented the special guardian’s recommendation to transfer the individual to a community-based residence
  • Testified before the New York State Most Integrated Setting Council (MISC) regarding issues affecting individuals with developmental disabilities living in nursing homes
  • Assisted with initial investigation of individuals with mental illness being transferred from psychiatric hospitals to nursing homes when there was no evidence that the individuals possessed conditions requiring increased medical attention

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Washington, DC

Law Student Employee (March 2002 – May 2002)

  • Reviewed and summarized White House disability policy statements in anticipation of future federal programs

Washington College of Law’s Women and the Law Clinic, Washington, DC

Student Attorney (September 2001 – May 2002)

  • Represented clients with legal issues, including receiving child support payments, obtaining social security benefits, securing food stamps and other welfare benefits

Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Washington, DC

Summer Intern with Disability Rights Project (June 2001 – August 2001)

  • Worked with clients and performed research for major issues in upcoming cases. Drafted memoranda for court

U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, Washington, DC

Intern (August 2000 – May 2001)

  • Asked to remain to continue work initiated as a summer intern and to take on new assignments

Summer Intern (May 2000 – August 2000)

  • Assisted with research and preparation for pending cases, including a detailed examination of the constitutionality of the Americans with Disabilities Act under the Commerce Clause. Researched and proposed new ways for the Disability Rights Section to enforce settlement agreements. Reviewed cases referred by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

National Council on Disability, Washington, DC

Volunteer (January 1998 – June 1999)

  • Assisted in coordinating and implementing the annual youth leadership conference

Disability Law Center, Boston, MA

Part-Time Employee (Fall 1997 – Spring 1999)

Intern (Summer 1997)

  • Organized a symposium focusing on raising money to increase the number of out-of-school opportunities for youth with disabilities. Prepared numerous fact sheets regarding a variety of issues affecting people with disabilities

Under New York State law, this may be considered attorney advertisement