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Education

Adams and Reese lawyers have advised more than 100 schools, colleges and universities, addressing the full range of issues facing these institutions, including student discipline, discrimination claims, desegregation plans, employment disputes, employee benefits and compensation, and issues related to athletics programs. We also advise on business law matters unique to the education sector, including public bidding, bond issues and finance. And when our clients face disputes not resolved with mediation, we bring our deep experience conducting adversarial hearings before administrative bodies and school boards, as well as trying lawsuits in federal and state courts, to advocate effectively on their behalf.

Our attorneys advise clients in the following areas:

  • Student issues – including drug and alcohol policies, school prayer, student privacy and FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), diversity and non-discrimination policies, honor codes, disciplinary actions and expulsions, Greek organizations, admissions, 529 plans, campus security, sexual harassment, bullying, child abuse, search and seizure, drug testing, student handbooks, Title IX, § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, special education and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Employment issues – We have defended more than 35 school districts against more than 1,000 claims of violating federal overtime requirements. We have also advised on tenure, employment contracts (presidents and superintendents, faculty, coaches, etc.), faculty handbooks, employment policies and practices, academic freedom, harassment and discrimination policies and training, drug and alcohol abuse, AIDS policies, termination and disciplinary hearings.
  • Defense of discrimination claims – including those under, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • Employee benefits and executive compensation – including supplemental retirement and specialized compensation arrangements for presidents and senior administrators, faculty early retirement incentive programs, Section 403(b) tax-deferred annuity programs and health and welfare benefit plans
  • Student behavior and technology – Facebook, social networking and texting/sexting are new areas where the laws against bullying and harassment still apply. We help our clients understand how the law applies and how to create a safer school environment for themselves and their students.
  • Charter schools – Adams and Reese lawyers have facilitated the opening of charter schools by guiding interested groups through the charter application process, advising on operational issues and assisting with the financing of the acquisition, constructing and equipping school facilities through the issuance of tax-exempt and/or taxable bonds. We have advocated for charter schools by drafting legislation and policy and lobbying at the local and state level, as well as representing charter schools in various study groups and assisting in the formation of charter school advocacy organizations. In addition, our lawyers represented charter schools in litigation in which the Louisiana Supreme Court ultimately ruled that charter schools are public schools and entitled to public funding.
  • Athletics – NCAA compliance, drug testing, athletic conference affiliation, use of athletic facilities, Title IX and gender equity, equipment safety and logo usage and licensing
  • Desegregation – unitary status and redistricting and issues related to the Voting Rights Act

Defining Strengths

  • Academic freedom
  • Admissions
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Athletic conference affiliation
  • Athletic equipment safety
  • Athletic facilities, use of
  • Bullying
  • Campus security
  • Child abuse
  • Constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983
  • Desegregation orders and plans
  • Disciplinary actions and expulsions
  • Diversity and non-discrimination policies
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Drug and alcohol policies
  • Drug testing
  • Employment contracts
  • Employment policies and practices
  • Facebook, social networking and texting/sexting
  • Faculty early retirement incentive programs
  • Faculty handbooks
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Greek organizations
  • Harassment and discrimination policies and training
  • Honor codes
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  • Logo usage and licensing and other intellectual property issues
  • NCAA compliance
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • School prayer
  • Search and seizure
  • Sexual harassment
  • Special education
  • Student handbooks
  • Student privacy
  • Tenure
  • Termination and disciplinary hearings
  • Title IX and gender equity
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
  • Unitary status and redistricting issues related to the Voting Rights Act
  • §504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • 529 plans

Summary

For more than 40 years, members of our education team have tackled the thorniest issues facing educational institutions, including defending school districts and other public entities in §1983 actions and handling unitary status hearings in federal desegregation cases to remove school districts from court supervision. Our lawyers have argued cases before Circuit Courts of Appeals and have taken education cases to the United States Supreme Court.

Our education law attorneys hold leadership positions in national and local organizations in the education field and speak on issues of school administration and education law to audiences throughout the United States.