School law has become one of the most expansive areas of law, requiring a significant scope of work and experience. Educational institutions contend with diverse legal issues such as: policies and procedures; compliance with state and federal laws; student matters; labor and employment issues; employee benefits; immigration; real estate purchasing, selling, leasing, and development; financing; tax; commercial transactions; construction; corporate and public bodies; elections; ethics and conflicts; governance; legislation and lobbying; emergency management; and public relations.
Dickinson Wright has a longstanding tradition of providing superior legal services to school districts, charter schools, private schools, educational service providers, authorizers, and colleges and universities throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. With this breadth of experience and vision, we provide our clients creative problem solving techniques that effectively minimize risks while maximizing rewards.
- Protection of public and private governing boards; boards of education; governing authorities and administrations in policymaking; ethics and conflicts; confidentiality and privacy obligations and exceptions; election laws and bylaws; public records and open meetings laws; public and private finance; governance training; crisis management; budgeting; auditing; borrowing; tax; deficit management and elimination; revenue enhancement; annexation and consolidation; legislative and strategic planning.
- Advice on and defense of student-related matters, such as discipline and on and off-campus behavior; special education; Section 504; due process, abuse, and neglect reporting; harassment and bullying; civil rights; desegregation; Titles VII and IX; financial aid and assistance; dual enrollment; student loans; workforce development and career readiness; freedom of speech and expression; separation of church and state; religious freedom and civil rights claims; residency and enrollment; health and safety; privacy laws; and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
- Preventative counseling on labor and employment matters, representation elections, labor relations, collective bargaining, and contract administration.
- State and federal employment laws, law suits, and administrative hearings – including those falling under the Office of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Data security, cyberspace crimes, data protection and sharing, crisis prevention and management, and security.
- Management and drafting of employee compensation and benefit plans; HIPAA; ERISA and state retirement systems; and state and federal controversies between state and federal plans.
- Immigration, including international movement of personnel, non-immigrant business, work visas and green cards, labor certifications, and employment eligibility.
- Transactions in real estate development, purchasing, and selling, zoning, planning, and land use – all public and private financing, bond counsel, trustee, and borrower’s counsel.
- Commercial transactions from bidding and contract negotiation and drafting to enforcement, and compliance with applicable laws.
- Construction and construction project management, including bidding, multiple party transaction contracting, liens, enforcement, and litigation.
- Nonprofit and corporate law, nonprofit foundation creation, and tax exemptions.
- Litigation, management, defense, and prosecution – including working with insurance companies.
- Federal and state tax issues, real property tax exemptions, and income tax exemptions under the Internal Revenue Code and state laws.
- Inter-governmental cooperation and contracting, revenue sharing, millage, voter approvals, and joint authority creation.