We provide personalized, responsive, and cost conscious legal services to Connecticut boards of education and trustees, school districts, and charter schools in all areas of law impacting the public education sector. This practice area, interchangeably known as education law or school law, is diverse, requiring expertise in various facets of law. Our attorneys’ education law expertise includes:


Employment Law

Boards of education are not only the educational policy makers in their communities, but traditionally also one of the largest local employers. Accordingly, our education law services address all aspects of the employer-employee relationship within the school context, including:

  • Hiring, including offer letters and employee contracts
  • Employee misconduct and discipline
  • Termination, including teacher non-renewal and termination under the special requirements of Connecticut’s Teacher Tenure Act applicable to Connecticut public school teachers and administrators
  • Employee benefits
  • Wage and hour law, including employee classification, minimum wage, and overtime
  • Employee handbooks
  • Personnel files
  • Internal investigations
  • Constitutional and other employee rights claims, including discrimination, retaliation, and First Amendment claims
  • Disability, accommodations, and leave, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Workers compensation


Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations

In most Connecticut public school districts, the majority of employees are unionized, and many of the terms and conditions of employment are governed by a collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the employees’ representatives. In Connecticut, the labor relationships between public school employers and employee bargaining representatives are primarily governed by the Teacher Negotiations Act (TNA) for certified employees, and the Municipal Employees Relations Act (MERA) for non-certified employees. Under these laws, and others, we provide a full range of labor relations services to our clients including:

  • Union contract analysis, interpretation, and enforcement
  • Union contract negotiations
  • Grievance management and defense
  • Grievance and interest arbitration before the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration (CSBMA)
  • Defense of prohibited practice complaints before the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations (CSBLR)
  • General labor relations services


Board Governance, Policy, and Compliance

Members of a Connecticut board of education or trustees owe important duties and responsibilities both to the town(s) in which they sit as well as to the state in executing the functions of the board. Board acts as agents of the state for some purposes and as agents of the municipality (or municipalities) they serve for others. These responsibilities are set forth under a multitude of oftentimes confusing state statutes and regulations specifically applicable to both boards of education specifically and public agencies in general. Our attorneys help untangle the mess of laws and regulations that volunteer board members and their employees are required to follow, and help develop practical policies and approaches to ensure continued compliance and solutions when issues arise, including:

  • Compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including public meeting requirements and responding to public information requests
  • Board and district policy drafting and review
  • Faculty, student, and parent handbooks drafting and review
  • Guidance regarding Board member responsibilities, functions, and limitations
  • The budgeting process and related matters
  • Board of education and local municipality relations
  • Other legal compliance matters


Student Matters

The most important function of all boards of education is of course to provide the best learning opportunities possible to its students. Boards of education and trustees, school districts, and schools would not exist but for their students. A variety of state and federal laws guide boards in serving students and establish or protect certain legal right. Our education law attorneys provide advice and counsel regarding student matters, including:

  • Student discipline, including suspension and expulsion, and the holding of expulsion hearings
  • School accommodations including residency and transportation hearings
  • Student confidentiality and student records, including compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA;
  • Bullying, harassment, and discrimination, including Office of Civil Rights complaints and investigations
  • Student civil rights, including student free speech under the First Amendment
  • Student travel, fields trips, and special programs
  • Title IX.


Special Education

In addition to general student matters, our attorneys also provide advice and counsel on special education matters, which represents its own subset of education and school law. Special education is primarily governed by two federal laws, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and their state analogs. Our special education services include:

  • Representation at Planning and Placement Team (“PPT”) and Section 504 meetings
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Section 504 Plan development and review
  • Representation at resolution meetings and mediation sessions regarding disagreements with parents
  • Representation and defense at due process hearings
  • Federal court appeals and related litigation
  • Defense of OCR, Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), and United States Department of Education (USDE) complaints and investigations


Dispute Resolution and Litigation

Disputes involving boards, districts, and schools with students, parents, agencies, citizens, and other parties sometimes inevitably result in administrative proceedings or court litigation. Our education and civil litigation attorneys are experienced in representing our education law clients in defense of all manners of claims and in all of the various forums in which disputes may arise or be resolved, including:

  • Civil litigation in state and federal courts
  • Discrimination claims before OCR, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • Grievance and interest arbitration before the CSBLR
  • Prohibited practice complains before the CSBMA
  • FOIA complaints before the Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC)
  • Unemployment claims before the Employment Security Appeals Division (EASD)
  • Workers’ Compensation claims before the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC)
  • Special education due process hearings
  • FERPA hearings
  • Expulsion, residency, and transportation hearings