McKinley & Ryan, LLC

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Basic Information

Company Slogan: Working tirelessly for your rights
Director: Partners: Lorrie McKinley, Esquire & Nancy C. Ryan, Esquire
Address: 238 West Miner Street West Chester, PA 19382
Phone Number: Telephone: (610) 436-6060
Fax Number: Facsimile: (610) 436-6804
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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McKinley & Ryan, LLC
McKinley & Ryan, LLC
McKinley & Ryan, LLC
McKinley & Ryan, LLC

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Additional Information

Area of Focus/Practice Interest:
Education and Civil Rights, Special Education Advocacy
Client Age Group: School Aged Children and Post Secondary Education

Our background, experience, and professional and community involvement has earned McKinley & Ryan its strong reputation. We have taken leadership roles in the legal community and have been actively involved as officers and leaders in local and state wide charitable organizations.

Lorrie McKinley

Lorrie McKinley is a 1984 graduate of Temple University School of Law. She received a B.S. from Penn State University in 1979. Lorrie was admitted to the bar in 1984 and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

Lorrie has spent the majority of her career litigating civil rights cases, with special emphasis on disability, employment and education law. Prior to entering private practice in 1997, Lorrie served as Project Head for the Employment Law Project at Community Legal Services, Inc. in Philadelphia. In 1997 she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving constitutional due process issues for people receiving medical benefits pursuant to the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. Her work in that case is highlighted in an exhibit in the Supreme Court Section of the United States Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Lorrie spent five years on the clinical faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she supervised students in the Penn Legal Assistance Office. She also served as a Lecturer-in-Law at the Villanova University Law School where she taught a course in Pre-Trial Practice.

Lorrie has earned awards for her advocacy and has held leadership roles in the local bar and legal community. Lorrie is coordinator of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's Plaintiffs' Employment Panel and is a consultant and lecturer for the Panel's educational programs. She also served on the Board of the Public Interest Civil Litigation Fund. From 1993 through 2003, Lorrie was a member of the Executive Committee of the Public Interest Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association. In 1998 she served as Chair of the Section, and represented the Section on the Bar Association's Board of Governors in 1996 and 1999. In 1997, 1998, and 2002 Lorrie served as the Chair of the Section's Committee on the Legal Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and as co-chair in 2003.

Lorrie received the Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program in 1991. In 1998 she received the Legal Leadership Award from the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health (PhilaPOSH). In 2005, Lorrie was elected as a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Inc. is a professional association honoring the leading lawyers nationwide in the practice of labor and employment law. Membership is by invitation, selected on the basis of outstanding achievement in the profession. Lorrie was recently selected by her peers as one of the "Best Lawyers in America." The Best Lawyers list is compiled through a peer-review survey in which thousands of the top lawyers in the United States evaluate their professional peers.

Nancy Ryan Ryan graduated from Temple University School of Law in 1987. She received a Masters Degree in Education from the College of William and Mary in 1981 and a B.S. with a Major in Education and a Minor in Special Education from the University of Dayton in 1979. Nancy was admitted to the bar in 1987 and is admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Nancy's interest in special education law grew out of her lifelong experiences working with children with learning needs. Nancy graduated from college with special education certification and spent several years teaching students with learning disabilities and emotional support needs at a Pennsylvania approved private school. After law school, she worked as an associate in several Philadelphia law firms specializing in civil litigation, where she handled a variety of civil litigation matters in state and federal court, including complex products liability matters and antitrust litigation. Nancy worked part-time for the Disabilities Law Project in 1991 and 1992 where she furthered her interest in advocacy for persons with disabilities. In 1993, she was named one of Philadelphia Business Magazine's "One Hundred People to Watch". In 1995 she formed her own practice emphasizing special education for children and human resources consultation to non-profit organizations including child welfare agencies and mental health service providers.

Nancy has a long history of volunteer public service. She served two terms as a Board Member of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, from 1994 to 1999, and served as President of the Board from 1997 through 1999. She served two terms as a Board Member of Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, Inc. in Harrisburg, now Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, from 1992 to 1998. She has been actively involved with the Philadelphia Bar Association, including its Public Interest section, and served as Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Person's With Disabilities Committee in 1993 and Co-chair in 1994 and 1995.

Services Provided:

Special Education Advocacy

We provide attorney-supervised advocacy services for parents whose legal needs may not require the active involvement of a lawyer. Christine Hesling is an experienced, dedicated paralegal and advocate with a longstanding commitment to special needs children and their parents. Christine has assisted countless families secure appropriate special education programs and placements for their children, while at the same time empowering parents to become more knowledgeable and confident advocates themselves.

Advocacy services include:

  • Case review and evaluation
  • IEP/GIEP/IFSP meetings
  • Assistance with special education mediation
  • Resolution meetings
  • Assistance with administrative compliance complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Education
  • Personalized research and referral to programs and services to improve outcomes for special needs students, including evaluation services, speech/language therapies, occupational and sensory integration services, physical therapy, assistive technology and functional behavioral assessments
  • Litigation support
  • Parent training
Client Testimonials

Please take a moment to see what our clients are saying about us.

Below are actual quotes from McKinley & Ryan, LLC clients who have given permission to post them online. Given the private nature of legal representation and confidentiality concerns we have not posted clients' names.
"McKinley and Ryan offers a rare combination of legal expertise, negotiating skill, and heart.

They represented our son, with the multiple intensive needs his severe autism has imposed on him, with compassion and understanding, even with fervor.

With patience and ingenuity, McKinley and Ryan guided us through a complex, demanding series of IEP meetings, school visits, and expert consultations. Their team approach gave us critical insight at challenging moments.

In the end we received an unprecedented settlement that made it possible to place our son in the most appropriate school we could discover. We think that with McKinley and Ryan's help, we have had both the courage and the resources to guarantee our son his best possible chance at a meaningful adult life.

If you need help with a Special Education law question, you will want McKinley and Ryan on your side."

Pottstown, PA

"My daugher is multiply disabled with a complicated educational history. After months of searching I retained Nancy Ryan to advocate for an appropiate education for my daughter. I was done watching my daughter remain stgnant, isolated and even regress when she is capable of progress. Nancy presented a complaint encompassing the past 10 years of my daughter's failed education resulting in an out of court agreement which FINALLY afforded my daughter an appropriate educational placement. I have dealt with many professional agencies throughout the years for special needs and NEVER has anyone come close to getting the scope of this life as Nancy was able to do.

Unfortunately, once that agreement expired, the district was unwilling to continue the placement without a fight. Once again, I retained Nancy for due process proceedings. Nancy's preparation and submissions to the court were extremely detailed, thorough and factual. Due to her abilities, the hearing officer overwhelmingly found us in favor!

Thanks to Nancy, my daughter is thriving and making meaningful progress!

Words cannot express the gratitude and admiration I have for Nancy Ryan. She is TRULY an advocate for your child!"

Broomall, PA

"With two autistic children we've been involved in our school district's special education/needs process for many years and are all too familiar with how frustrating attempts to obtain appropriate and effective programs and services can be. However, nothing in our experience prepared us for the shock and turmoil in our lives when we were forced to remove our daughter from school due to egregious behavior of school administrators. In our search for a special education attorney we were immediately drawn to McKinley & Ryan due to their impressive court record as well as their ability to negotiate fair and effective settlements. What we didn't expect, but have truly come to appreciate, was the level of support and reassurance they provided us during such a trying time. Nancy Ryan became our rock in a time of craziness - patient, supportive, reassuring and always accessible with solid, practical advice. She developed a detailed and impressive knowledge of our daughter's records, negotiated skillfully and forcefully on our behalf and helped us determine what we really wanted and develop reasonable expectations. It took time and wasn't easy but Nancy drove through a settlement that has been the foundation of our daughter's continued personal and academic growth. Nancy and the folks at McKinley & Ryan have our well earned respect and trust and we recommend them without hesitation."

Yardley, PA

"Our experience with the McKinley & Ryan firm was a very positive one. We worked closely with Nancy Ryan on a compensatory education claim for my son who was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. Nancy set up meetings and reviewed documentation to quickly get up to speed on our situation. She was very pro-active in keeping us well informed along the way. She was a true partner and collaborator and was very easy to work with. Nancy was very prepared for a vigorous hearing and thoroughly presented our case to the hearing officer. Nancy's in-depth understanding of education law provided us with guidance around our rights which led to a successful victory with the school district. I would highly recommend working with this law firm."

Doylestown, PA

"Raising a child with special needs and learning disabilities can be stressful at the best of times. When faced with an educational system who failed to offer an appropriate education for our child; with meeting after meeting not resolving the issues; that stress was intensified. We initially chose McKinley & Ryan because they specialized in Special Education Law, had an excellent track record including Federal Court and when introduced to our case, they got their arms around it effectively. Lorrie and Nancy poured through our records, assessed our intents and capabilities and weren't afraid to provide us with bold options to meet our son's needs. They supported our choice and negotiated it through to a successful outcome. They weren't nearby for us; they aren't glitzy or grandiose nor are they an enormous impersonal practice. They met with us and our child and were on a first name basis. When the "heat" was turned up; they were immediately available and effectively pro-active. It wasn't trouble-free due to the circumstances, but Nancy and Lorrie with their team were great, the end results were more than satisfactory. We have and will continue to recommend McKinley & Ryan to others because of our experience."

New London Township, PA

"The talented Nancy Ryan interacted so well with our son, the student, and our family during a very trying time. We had exhausted all avenues on our own. She firmly and thoroughly resolved the problems with the school district, allowing our child to achieve his academic goals and beyond. We were also impressed with the caring, professional and knowledgeable staff, on whom we relied to take messages and to answer our questions."

West Chester, PA

"Lorrie McKinley is the only spec. ed. attorney I ever recommend. As a co-founder of a school for special needs children and the parent of an autistic son, I have battled for years to help get these kids the educational services they need, and surely, deserve. In my family's personal experience, only Lorrie, out of three previous lawyers, was able to get the job done. I have also heard my share of horror stories from my network of parents about still other attorneys who have been afraid to "make too many waves" or didn't bother to dot the i's and cross the t's. That's not Lorrie. She is everything anyone could want in a legal representative: sharp; insightful; knowledgeable; assertive; keenly focused; and reassuringly calm, even when her client (me, I confess) had been reduced to a raving loon. You'll also find her to be warm and responsive - a pleasure to work with. She's simply the best."

West Chester, PA

"Our organization, a non-profit mental health services agency, has been working with Nancy Ryan for over ten years. The business that we're in has presented some challenging personnel and operational issues that have required timely and thorough legal assistance. Ms. Ryan has researched and interpreted new and existing laws, assisted with policy creation and provided guidance through legal land mines such as the ADA, FMLA, the Mental Health Procedures Act and many others. We have consistently received ethical, professional and appropriate direction from McKinley & Ryan, who also provide high quality personal service by immediately responding to emails and voice mails when they're not personally available. It has been an extremely valuable relationship for our organization."

Philadelphia, PA