Overview of Educational Institutions Practice
Educational institutions rely upon timely legal advice to ensure that they provide the best education for their students, respond to the needs of their stakeholders, and remain in compliance with the myriad of laws that govern their operations. Poricanin’s attorneys focus on providing exceptional counsel to educational institutions, ranging from student discipline and academic affairs, to budgeting and governance, to collective bargaining agreements and employee discipline/termination.
Poricanin provides counsel to educational institutions in the following areas:
Labor and Employment
Poricanin provides educational institutions with day-to-day counsel regarding compliance with labor and employment matters, interpretation and negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, grievance and arbitration counsel, investigations of employee misconduct allegations, discharge and discipline issues for tenured and non-tenured employees, and negotiation of contracts for high-ranking personnel, such as Superintendents and college presidents. We also provide training for staff on all labor and employment topics, as well as assistance with day-to-day human resources functions.
Government Audits and Investigations
We represent educational institutions before all governing administrative and executive agencies, including the Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, EEOC, and the State Comptroller’s Office. Our services include conducting preliminary conferences, shepherding clients through all phases of the audit or investigation, and negotiating a resolution.
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
While an out-of-court resolution is always preferable, sometimes litigation is inevitable. Poricanin represents educational institutions in all litigation and disputes, from administrative challenges and appeals, to federal and State court litigation. We provide effective and efficient legal representation.
Poricanin Law counsels public school districts, including charter schools, with respect to the rights of students with disabilities and schools’ obligations towards such students. Poricanin represents schools in all phases of special education litigation, from administrative appeals to federal court litigation.
Crisis Management and Media Relations
Crises can result from lawsuits, regulatory inquiries, employee grievances and adverse publicity. Poricanin counsels Boards of Education, Superintendents, Administrators, and Trustees of educational institutions with respect to sensitive, controversial, and other matters that garner negative scrutiny and publicity in order to manage response efforts and communication with relevant stakeholders.
A myriad of federal and State laws apply to protect students of educational institutions. Poricanin works with educational institutions to ensure that they are knowledgeable about those laws, that they are adequately prepared to comply with each of the legal requirements applicable to them, and to provide counsel on day-to-day situations that may arise with respect to pupil matters.
FOIL and Open Meetings Law Issues
For educational institutions that are subject to the Freedom of Information Law and the Open Meetings Law, Poricanin provides counsel on how to conduct public meetings to ensure compliance with Open Meetings Law and to address any issues that may arise. With respect to the Freedom of Information Law, Poricanin assists covered entities in responding to requests for information, including preparation of responses to FOIL requests.
Representative Matters and Work Experience in the Education Industry
- Training Boards of Education on board etiquette and requirements
- Counseling educational institutions concerning advocacy and government relations
- Assisting a public school in conjunction with Election Law matters
- Collectively bargaining with teachers’ and non-professional staff unions
- Representing newly-established charter schools with respect to governance matters
- Providing counsel in Board meetings concerning sensitive and, potentially, controversial issues
- Negotiating employment contracts for high-level executive employees of educational institutions
- Defending educational institutions, public and private, from all lawsuits, including personal injury, discrimination, and Civil Rights claims
- Devising policies for newly formed charter schools
- Counseling an educational institution concerning negative publicity following student suicide and walk-outs
- Negotiating contracts on behalf of educational institutions with vendors and third-parties
- Conducting investigations of time theft by public employees
- Defending educational institutions in lawsuits concerning special education students’ needs
- Representing educational institutions in deciding whether and how to disclose information pursuant to Freedom of Information Law requirements
- Defending educational institutions in audits alleging worker wage underpayment and worker misclassification
- Advising educational institutions concerning the rights and obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”)
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