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About me

I have been working on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families for over 30 years.   I have direct personal experience with family members with disabilities and have lived through those pressures and triumphs.   I believe strongly in assuring appropriate services and the protection of civil rights and dignity for all people.  I use a team of people that also have considerable experience and share my passion for social justice and equal treatment of all.  I strive to provide full and honest information about every situation, helping my clients to understand what they can do on their own and what we can do to assist them.  At the same time, I work hard to be practical about what can be accomplished and what makes economic sense.  I believe in resolving disputes as constructively as possible and use due process hearings or other legal steps as a last resort.  When we do have to pursue legal action, however, we pursue it diligently and with great attention to all relevant information.  

I also work hard at a national level to achieve systems change, as I have learned that while each individual case is important, the individual cases do not always result in changes in the system that are needed for a particular client or people in general.

I also do wide training on special education and disability issues and have written widely on these topics, including my book:  "A Guide to Special Education Advocacy: What Parents, Advocates and Clinicians Need to Know," Jessica Kingsley Press (2009).  I am involved in many special education and advocacy organizations, including being on the board of the Council of Parents, Attorneys and Advocates, former president of National CHADD, and chair of the Illinois Attorney General's Committee on Special Educaton. 


Languages spoken: Spanish

Practice areas


  1. Education: 70%
    34 years, 3 thousand cases
  2. Health Care: 20%
    34 years, 500 cases
  3. Civil Rights: 10%
    34 years, 300 cases

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Contact info

Matt Cohen and Associates

155 N. Michigan Ave.
Suite 715
Chicago, IL, 60601


ILActive And Authorized To Practice Law198105/17/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Illinois SuperLawyers- 2006-2011Illinois SuperLawyers2011
Illinois Leading Lawyers 2008-2011Leading Lawyers in America2011
Public Education AwardGreater Chicago Chapter, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill2010
Legislative Policy AwardChildren and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders2009
Professional of the Year AwardIllinois TASH1995
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Co-founder and PartnerMonahan and Cohen1990 - 2011
Association namePosition nameDuration
Council of Parent Attorneys and AdvocatesPast Board Member & Current Pub Policy Comm Member2004 - Present
Ill. Attorney General's Special Education CommitteeChairperson1995 - Present
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderPast President1991 - Present
Publication nameTitleDate
Jessica Kingsley PressA Guide to Special Education Advocacy- What Parents, Advocates & Clinicians Need to Know2009
Illinois Planning Council on Developmental DisabilitiesBarriers to Inclusion in Local Schools in Illinois: A Blueprint for ChangeN/A
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Minnesota, Twin CitiesLawN/A1981
Grinnell CollegeN/AN/A1977
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Special Education law ConferenceEthical Issues In Special Education Advocacy2012
International Learning Disabilities ConferenceTransition Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities2012
International CHADD ConferenceADA and Section 504 Accommodations for People with ADHD2011