An Attorney Who Has Walked In Your Shoes

profile
Claudette-Jean Girard

Practice Areas:

  • Family Law 95%
  • Special Education Law 5%

Biography

Attorney Girard is a skilled and knowledgeable professional in the areas of divorce and family law and special education law. She brings to her clients empathy, understanding and compassion through first-hand professional expertise and personal experiences. Attorney Girard realizes the stress, frustration and complexities of divorce along with the affects it has on her clients and families as a whole and supportively guides her clients though this painful process.

A lifelong resident of western Massachusetts, there, she raised her "blended" family of six children.

One of Attorney Girard and her husband's sons was born severely disabled. Through this life-altering experience, Attorney Girard has navigated the system from the ground-up. Like many of her clients, Attorney Girard initially did not know where to turn and was forced to fight to enforce her son's rights and to obtain the services he deserved and needed. Attorney Girard has made it her mission to provide that same level of dedication and much-needed assistance, care and advocacy for all her clients including those with special needs.

Attorney Girard recognizes and understands that each and every child is an individual, not a statistic, and should never be categorized on the basis of disability diagnosis alone. Attorney Girard shares with her clients a sincere human element and comprehension of the stress and frustration families and parents go through when dealing with the imperfections of the system.

Attorney Girard graduated magna cum laude from Elms College in Chicopee Massachusetts with a degree in Psychology and graduated in the top third of her graduating class from Western New England School of Law and is an active member of; Massachusetts Bar Association (Family Law Section), Hampden County Bar Association, Hampshire County Bar Association, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and is a trained advocate through the Federation for Children with special needs.

Attorney Girard is a loving grandmother and continues to practice in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Education

  • Western New England College School of Law, Springfield, Massachusetts
    • J.D. - 2001
  • Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts
    • B.A. - 1996
    • Honors: magna cum laude
    • Major: Psychology
  • Federation for Children with Special Needs
    • Advocate/Parent Consultant Certificate

Bar Admission

  • Massachusetts, 2002
  • Connecticut, 2002

Classes & Seminars

  • Hampden County Bar Association Children's Law Project Training
  • IEP Development, Speech & Language Developmental Center
  • Palmer Parent Advisory Council
  • Elms College Homecoming Weekend 2008
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (“AFCC”) Fall Symposium, regarding “Pesky Third Parties”, 10/09/2014
  • Children and Family Law (“CAFL”) Training, Regarding Representation of a Parent in a Contested Guardianship Case Before the Probate and Family Court, 06/02/2015
  • AFCC Annual Conference, on Children with Special Needs: Challenges for Families and the Family Court. Attorney Girard lectured on the topic of Guardian Ad Litem investigations with Special Needs Children, 04/01/2016
  • Basic Rights for Parents in the IEP Process, Palmer Public Schools, hosted by Parent Advisory Counsel
  • Basic Rights for Parents in the IEP Process, East Longmeadow Public Schools, hosted by Parent Advisory Counsel

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Senior Partners for Justice, 2009 to Present
  • Pre Trial Clinic, 2010 to Present

Fraternities or Sororities

  • Kappa Gamma Pi

Professional Associations

  • Massachusetts Bar Association, Family Law Section
  • Hampden County Bar Association
  • Hampshire County Bar Association
  • AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts)
  • Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)
  • Education-A-Must
  • Special Needs Advocacy Network
  • Autism Speaks
  • MAGAL (Massachusetts Association of Guardians Ad Litem)
  • AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts) Massachusetts Chapter, Board Member, 2017 to 2019
  • Behavioral Health Network Human Rights Committee, Board Member

Current Employment Position

  • Attorney