Who are We?

Samford & DePaola, PC is a law firm located in Montgomery, Alabama.  Services in the field of special education are provided by Susan Shirock DePaola. She has been an attorney since 1982. She has been working in the field of special education law since 1989 when she was appointed by the State Superintendent of Education to serve as an administrative law judge for due process cases. In November of 1999 she resigned her position as a hearing officer and began representing parents of children with disabilities.

Before becoming an attorney, she taught junior high school science, remedial reading in the elementary school, and she was an elementary school principal. She holds a doctorate in elementary education and has been a consultant with the Alabama State Department of Education. She is a licensed Psychometrist in the State of Alabama. Although she does not do testing at this time, she is qualified to interpret test scores and assist parents in evaluating their situation.

Mrs. DePaola also has consulted with and provided in-service training to State Departments of Education personnel outside of the state of Alabama and is currently a legal consultant to the Southeastern Regional Research Center for special education at Auburn University in Montgomery.


  • Doctorate of Education, Auburn University 1975
  • Juris Doctor, University of Alabama 1982
  • Classroom Teacher, 1969-73
  • Consultant, Alabama State Department of Education 1974-75
  • Elementary Principal, 1975-79
  • Hearing Officer for Special Education, 1989-1999
  • Parent Advocate, 1999 to date