Attorney Profiles

Julie J. Weatherly, Esq. is the Founder of RISE, Inc. located in Mobile, Alabama and has been working with school agencies in the area of special education for more than 30 years.  RISE is a full-service legal and consulting business designed to assist educational agencies in the avoidance and resolution of special education legal disputes arising under the IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the ADA and other applicable laws.  Julie is a graduate of Presbyterian College and the University of Georgia School of Law.  She is a member of the State Bars of Alabama and Georgia and provides consultative and/or legal services to school agencies primarily in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, as well as on a national basis.  
In June of 1996, Julie appeared with Leslie Stahl on CBS news program “60 Minutes” to discuss the cost of meeting the legal requirements of the IDEA.  She has been a member of the faculty for many national and state legal institutes and is a frequent speaker at special education law conferences.  Julie has developed a number of videotape training series on special education law and has been published nationally as a part of her trainings, workshops and seminars.  In 1998, Julie was honored by Georgia’s Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) as Georgia’s Individual who had Contributed Most to Students with Disabilities, and in April 2012, Julie received the National Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE) Award for Outstanding Service.
Contact Julie at (251) 607-7377 or email her at

Leslie A. Allen, Esq. is a Partner in the Birmingham, Alabama office of RISE, where she represents and advises public school districts and other education agencies on special education law matters.  Leslie is a member of the State Bars of Alabama and Georgia and is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in both states, as well as before the United States Supreme Court.  With the focus of her practice exclusively on special education law, she also has more than 20 years of broad civil litigation experience, including in the areas of employment, healthcare, general liability insurance, general commercial and complex business law. Just prior to joining RISE, Leslie practiced law with the Birmingham firm of Christian & Small, after moving from Atlanta, Georgia where she had practiced law since 1995.  While in Atlanta, she was formerly a law partner with founding RISE Partner Julie J. Weatherly, when they were both members of another law firm also devoted exclusively to special education law.  

Leslie is a Birmingham native and completed her undergraduate work at the University of Alabama, where she graduated summa cum laude.  She then graduated cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. 
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Contact Leslie at (205) 423-5395 or email her at

Kevin W. Pendley, Esq. heads up RISE's Florida office and has over 25 years of legal experience.  He has practiced law in Southwest Florida since 2007 and holds the highest peer review rating (AV) from Martindale-Hubbell®. Kevin is a member of the Florida and Georgia Bars and received his law degree from the University of Georgia and his undergraduate degree from Emory University. On June 1, 2016, Kevin was recognized as a Board-certified Specialist in Education Law by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education.

Kevin began his career as a litigator representing major national and international manufacturing concerns in defense of products liability actions and in insurance defense matters. In 1997, Kevin joined Julie Weatherly in her former law firm consulting with and representing school boards in matters brought pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In 2001, Kevin was appointed Assistant General Counsel to the Atlanta Independent School System in Atlanta, Georgia where he primarily handled special education matters for the System.  Moving to Florida in 2006, Kevin has represented school boards in Southwest Florida and other public and private educational institutions in a variety of education law practice areas including IDEA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, Title VII, and Section 1983. Rejoining Julie as RISE’s Florida counsel, Kevin will continue to consult with and represent school boards in exceptional student education matters throughout Florida.

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Contact Kevin at (239) 598-0088 or email him at