Education Law

General Counsel Services

We are lawyers for educators. Our practice is focused on assisting our school board clients in the day-to-day management of their districts, ranging from the interpretation of New York State laws and regulations, including the Education Law, the Commissioner's Regulations, the Taylor Law, the Freedom of Information Law, the Open Meetings Law, the General Municipal Law, and the like, to guidance on federal statutes such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA"), and the Americans with Disabilities Act. We provide in depth guidance and support on all matters impacting school operations, including policy matters, budget development, fiscal management, special education, staff employment and evaluations, student discipline and collective bargaining, just to name a few.

As general counsel, our firm has substantial experience handling a wide spectrum of education matters. We assist our clients with policy review and development; offer guidance on recent legislation, rule changes, and significant court rulings; and provide technical assistance to district clerks, board members and administration regarding the conduct of annual and special school district elections. We routinely respond to questions concerning layoff, tenure and seniority; reserve funds; construction matters; purchasing and procurement of goods and services; the Freedom of Information Law; the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; the Open Meetings Law; the Americans with Disabilities Act; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974; the Family Medical Leave Act; civil service issues; students' and employees' rights; and criminal and commercial law matters.

In addition, our partners and associates regularly represent our school district clients in all stages of administrative and court proceedings, including student discipline matters pursuant to Education Law §3214 (including manifestation determinations for special needs students); guardianship, residency, adoption, custody and Child Protective Services matters; appeals to the Commissioner of Education and the Office of State Review; school board liability issues; discrimination matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the State Division of Human Rights and the U.S. Department Education Office for Civil Rights; matters before the Unemployment and Workers' Compensation Boards; and a variety of matters in federal and state courts. We also have considerable experience in defending our school district clients in federal civil rights actions alleging discrimination based upon age, race, sex and/or disability.

The firm regularly assists our school district clients in negotiating and drafting architects' and construction managers' contracts, and preparing information and materials for public bids and requests for proposals. Our attorneys have provided legal assistance to our school district clients in the purchase and sale of school district property, as well as advice and counsel regarding asbestos removal from school district buildings.

Litigation Highlights

  • We successfully defended a recent federal lawsuit challenging a school district's refusal to grant a religious exemption to the Public Health Law requirement that students be immunized against certain diseases.
  • In another recent federal case, we persuaded the court to dismiss an employee's claim that his First Amendment rights had been violated when the District failed to promote him.
  • In one of our more unusual cases, we successfully defended a school district in an appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the school district's right to insist on parental notice of student pregnancy.
  • We have also defended a school district against claims of First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment violations regarding the collection of school taxes.

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Events Calendar
  • Friday, March 22, 2024
    Nassau/Suffolk Annual School Law Conference

    Christie Jacobson will be co-presenting on the topic of New York State Freedom of Information Law. The program will take place at the Nassau Academy of Law; 133 15th Street, Mineola, NY 11501

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