The School Law team provides a distinctive blend of legal experience and practical knowledge to effectively anticipate and respond to the increasingly complex needs of our public sector clients and private schools. The wide-ranging expertise of our attorneys, coupled with their commitment to innovative problem solving, ensures that our clients receive sound legal advice aimed at identifying bold and creative legal solutions.
Our School Law attorneys lecture regularly on developing areas of the law. We provide ongoing and comprehensive training sessions to our clients on a wide-range of topics to ensure responsiveness to developing trends and current needs.
Our team is recognized throughout the region for its comprehensive and long established School Law practice, and we are proud of the strong and lasting relationships we have forged with many of our clients. We believe it is the quality of those relationships that best reflects client confidence and satisfaction with our services.
School Governance & Leadership: We offer extensive expertise in all aspects of the representation of school districts, intermediate units, independent schools and other educational entities. As trusted advisors, our attorneys counsel school boards and administrators in diverse matters encompassing a vast array of issues, including general school law issues, labor relations and employment matters, special education, public finance, construction, tax assessment and collection issues, employee benefits and school-related litigation of all kinds. Our attorneys are routinely called upon to help craft, update and interpret board policies and administrative regulations addressing the full range of issues impacting educational institutions. We represent the interests of our clients before arbitrators, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Office for Dispute Resolution, and state and federal courts. While our team has litigated numerous precedent-setting cases on behalf of School Districts and Intermediate Units, we strive to identify problems at their earliest stage and offer effective solutions that will resolve legal problems before they intensify.
Student Services & Special Education: Our attorneys provide guidance and representation to school districts and intermediate units in all areas of student services and disability law both as general counsel and special counsel. We assist our clients in effectively navigating the various obligations to students with exceptionalities required under the Pennsylvania School Code, the State Board of Education Regulations, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recognizing the potential exposure and expense of litigation, our attorneys work closely with school districts and intermediate units in every aspect of the special education process–from IEP team and Section 504 Plan meetings, mediation, and due process hearings to state compliance monitoring and Office of Civil Rights complaints. While we consistently negotiate satisfying and successful settlements of special education disputes, our attorneys have the skill, experience and technical expertise to efficiently litigate cases in this complex area of the law. We also provide comprehensive guidance in the areas of student rights and disciplinary matters. We have successfully defended school districts in state and federal court in a wide array student rights issues including student expression, privacy, search & seizure, truancy, and confidentiality issues under the Family Rights and Educational Privacy Act. Through regular in-service trainings for staff and administrators, providing general legal background, updates on changes to the law and information on specific areas of interest, our attorneys strive to solve legal problems before they devolve into litigation. We strive to enable our clients to focus on the important work of educating children.
School Construction & Financing: We have extensive experience in providing legal counsel related to the complexities of the construction industry, including school-related construction projects. Attorneys from across the firm provide guidance and practical advice to public entities as they anticipate and plan construction projects. From land use and development to financing to construction, we regularly negotiate, draft and review numerous documents related to construction. We are experienced in all aspects of the procurement process and offer assistance in the transactional stage, including the bidding and quote process, lease-leaseback agreements, advertising and notice provisions, drafting and purchasing procedures, due diligence, condemnation/eminent domain issues and easements. Our School and Municipal Finance attorneys provide comprehensive assistance in maneuvering the complex finance, bond and revenue issues and our Real Estate attorneys provide effective and practical assistance on land use and development matters. Our experience in the construction industry enables us to provide guidance on the entire construction process, including prevailing wage compliance, change orders, payment requests, environmental and regulatory compliance, licensing, tax or other fee issues, contractor/subcontractor agreements, architect and engineering designs and plans, and other professional services agreements. When disputes among parties arise, we strive to resolve conflict through conciliatory means, and we are strong advocates when more traditional methods for resolving disputes are necessary. Our reputation in school construction law is built on hard work, commitment to excellence and personalized attention to our clients’ needs and goals. We have experienced the full range of issues that can arise in the construction of public buildings and our sophisticated, proactive, yet practical advice is grounded in common sense and firm knowledge of the community and our clients.