Shipman & Goodwin’s school law attorneys have more than 40 years of experience representing public schools, including charter schools and magnet schools. We work with over 125 public school districts and other educational entities, as well as public school member organizations and associations, on the broad range of legal issues that they confront, from general education law to special education matters.
We emphasize education and preventive measures to avoid legal problems in the first instance. We have established a school law blog, www.ctschoollaw.com, and we send out email alerts of significant new developments to keep clients apprised of school law developments as they occur. We also monitor legislation proposed at the state and federal levels and provide periodic updates, including our annual Education and Employment Updates on new legislation. Our attorneys regularly present semi-annual seminars, quarterly workshops and webinars for public schools on current topics of general and special interest. In addition, we provide training sessions for the National School Boards Association, Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of School Business Officials, the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.
Our representation of public schools includes the following matters:
We conduct regular on-site professional development and training workshops on a variety of legal issues and matters of concern, including:
For more information and to schedule an on-site training, visit our Professional Development and Training Workshops page.
Co-Chair of the School Law Practice Group, Thomas B. Mooney, is the author of A Practical Guide to Connecticut School Law, currently in the 8th Edition (2014), the only comprehensive treatise on Connecticut school law, published by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and used by teachers, administrators and board of education members throughout Connecticut.
Our attorneys have represented school districts in hundreds of hearings over the last 40 years. We have extensive experience in special education disputes, including resolution meetings, mediations, due process hearings and federal court litigation. We have represented schools in responding to and resolving complaints with the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education, which enforces Section 504 and several other federal civil rights laws, such as Title IX and Title VI. In the highly emotional area of special education, we work to resolve the vast majority of cases amicably, preserving the parent/school relationship, litigating such cases through hearing and any court appeals only when necessary.
Board of Education Policy Updates
We regularly advise boards of education on issues of board policy. We maintain a series of model policies to assist our board of education clients in complying with statutory changes and requirements. We monitor all legislation proposed in the General Assembly that affects school districts, and we provide annual complimentary updates to clients on changes in the law.
We bring significant experiences and resources to support our clients at the bargaining table, working with schools in labor negotiations for both certified and non-certified personnel. We maintain extensive files that include all current teacher and administrator contracts in the state, as well as many other board of education and municipal contracts. In addition, we monitor time-sensitive information regarding labor negotiations trends and settlements well before they are released to the public, enabling our clients to make informed decisions at the bargaining table.
Labor and Employment
We advise schools on wage and hour laws, FMLA, and unemployment compensation. We review employee handbooks and board policies to assure compliance with state and federal laws. In addition, our attorneys represent schools in all areas of labor relations, including union activities, contract negotiation and administration, and we represent schools in tenure hearings as well as in grievance hearings before the American Arbitration Association and the Connecticut State Board of Mediation and Arbitration. We also represent schools before the State Board of Labor Relations, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the courts, as well as alternative dispute resolution venues.