We provide sophisticated Education Law counsel to public school districts, Educational Services Commissions, charter schools, independent and private schools addressing a variety of legal issues affecting Boards, administrators, staff and faculty, and students.
Our firm represents dozens of public schools throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We provide sophisticated counsel to Boards of Education, Educational Services Commissions, and Charter Schools that face heightened exposure from litigation and need help navigating complex state and federal law and regulation. Group members have decades of practice experience and are recognized as national leaders in this practice.
We provide daily assistance to quickly deal with special education issues from the classroom through litigation. We counsel clients regarding the eligibility, evaluation, and classification process, implementation and disciplinary difficulties, and assist administration, case managers, and teachers in efficiently and compliantly resolving disputes. Our attorneys regularly mediate disputes and try Due Process Hearings across the United States at all levels of the administrative, state, and federal courts. We have extensive experience dealing with disability-specific legal issues arising from the different categories of eligibility.
We develop Section 504 policies and programs in order to provide lesser-restrictive disability plans that ease the burden on under-resourced schools and deliver more efficient disability accommodations. Section 504 is often misunderstood and over looked as a viable option for accommodation, and we provide frequent in-services for the faculty, administration, and staff of our clients on both Special Education and the use of Section 504 plans.
Group attorneys handle day-to-day student issues ranging from compulsory education, student safety, residency and disciplinary incidents, to constitutional concerns involving free speech and religious expression. We proactively assist school clients to address school violence, student discipline, and the review and handling of zero-tolerance and other significant matters concerning student behavior. We are regularly involved in emergent disciplinary matters, including the coordination of manifestation determination meetings and the analysis of disciplinary options involving students eligible for special education and related services.
Labor and Employment Law
In addition to handling grievances, interpreting collective agreements, and negotiating on behalf of management with unions, our attorneys provide daily counsel regarding employment issues, confidentiality and reporting requirements, proactively addressing employee harassment and disability claims, and assisting administration with staffing issues.
Construction Law and School Contracts
We regularly review public contracts, including bid specifications and plans, and assists schools in responding to the receipt of bids. We also provide advice on purchases made through state agencies, provide suggestions on emergency purchases, assist in the solicitation of quotes, and represent boards against emergent bid protests.
Providing counsel regarding the construction of new school facilities and the renovation and/or addition to existing facilities, our attorneys are involved in referendum challenges and the obtaining of municipal, county, state and/or federal approvals necessary for construction projects.
Private & Independent Schools
Guided by decades of education law experience, the firm’s private and independent school law practice works with administrators, staff, and faculty of independent and private schools to promptly address unique legal issues affecting non-public schools. Our attorneys understand the cultural differences between public and non-public schools, and are uniquely suited to counsel school heads and others in dealing with emergent and other legal issues that impact private and independent schools.
Independent school heads need experienced school law counsel in addressing day-to-day student issues.
Our attorneys regularly counsel administrators concerning day-to-day student issues, ranging from student safety and disciplinary incidents, to constitutional concerns involving free speech and religious expression. We also analyze liability issues concerning student activities and facility usage.
Our attorneys provide counsel regarding student records and confidentiality, and provide practical guidance to administrators faced with parental and third party disputes involving school records. Our attorneys lecture extensively regarding student confidentiality, the maintenance of student records, and issues related to the retention and destruction of student records.
The Group also counsels schools concerning family issues such as the effect divorce and separation bears on access to student information, custody, and the educational participation of non-custodial parents.
We assist schools in evaluating student discipline in the technological age, where on-line and virtual communication may impact student behavior and communication. We review disciplinary and other conduct policies concerning student behavior, and provide practical guidance intended to reduce exposure and litigation.
Federal and State laws concerning disabilities can affect the way private and independent schools educate their students.
The Group has broad experience in the area of special education. Although public schools face the most exposure under the laws that require accommodation for educational disabilities, we work closely with independent school administrators and faculty regarding compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act, the medical leave acts, and other laws that require schools to offer accommodations for disabled students and employees.
Retirement and Benefit Plans
Our attorneys draft a range of benefits and financial plans commonly implemented by independent schools and review the tax consequences of these plans. We also work with deferred compensation plans and assist in the drafting and implementation of appropriate policies for the management of benefits.
Construction Law / School Contracts
The construction of new school facilities is complex and often leads to litigation. The Group provides counseling regarding the construction of new school facilities and the renovation of and/or addition to existing facilities. We review construction contracts, including bid specifications and plans. We also assist schools in responding to the receipt of proposals and the solicitation of quotes, and provide practical, hands-on counsel when disputes emerge to avoid litigation and difficulties related to construction delays.
Labor and Employment Law
Schools are confronted with legal issues involving employees on a daily basis.
The Group lectures extensively and is involved in a variety of labor/employment disputes, including confidentiality and reporting requirements for teachers and staff, and sexual harassment in the school setting, including teacher-to-teacher, teacher-to-student, and student-to-student harassment. We also assist administrators in the development and implementation of personnel policies, including the adoption of employment-at-will terms.
We have extensive experience involving disability and discrimination claims, and assist administrators with regard to performance and general, employment counseling.
Guided by decades of Education and School Law practice experience, our attorneys are nationally-recognized lecturers in all legal issues affecting public and private or independent schools. Our attorneys regularly lecture across the country to professional groups.
Some prior and current lectures include:
- “504 & IDEIA Eligibility & Some Discipline For Fun!”
- “Section 504 in New Jersey: Independent Schools”
- “Special Education Law and Public Education; Enabling Learning, Following the Rules and Staying Out of Trouble”
- “Section 504 in New Jersey; Best Practices & Staying Out of Trouble”
- “The Pitfalls and Legal Considerations Involved with Usage of Technology by Teaching Staff – In and Out of the Classroom”
- “Special Education; Keys to Compliance in Pennsylvania”
- “Students Rights and Special Education: Legal Requirements for Discipline of Regular and Special Education Students”
- “Least Restrictive Environment Placement and Analysis and Section 504 Policies and Procedure”
- “Implementing Smart IEPs”
- “Special Education Topics and Concerns: Guidelines for Safe Passage”
- “Legal Combat Rules for the School Psychologist”
- “Special Education: Keys to Compliance in New Jersey”
- “Rules, Regulations & Developing Smart IEPs”
- “Special Education: Issues, Actions and Promising Practices”
- “Practical Guidance on Section 504 in New Jersey”
- “Keeping Your Cool While the Room’s Heating Up”
- “New Jersey School Law Nuts & Bolts”
- “Dealing with Attorneys, Advocates & Litigation”
- “PT and OT Practice in Special Education: A Legal Survival Guide”
- “Disabilities Law and the New Jersey Independent School”
- “Public School Labor and Employment and Disabilities Law in New Jersey”
- “Student Rights: Legal Requirements for Discipline of Regular and Special Education Students”
- “IDEA & Section 504 for the School Counselor”
- “Enabling Learning; Practical Guide to Disabilities Law and Public Education”
- “Special Education Law and Public Education in Maryland”
- “Non-Discrimination/Affirmative Action, Harassment and Bullying”
- “Understanding School Board Ethics”
Our attorneys are available to lecture school boards, administrators, faculty, and staff on any legal issues, including required School Board Ethics in-services, and to guide and facilitate board and administration retreats.
For additional lecture information, please see our full, current lecture and seminar list below.