School Law

School districts bear the fundamental responsibility of educating students, while contending with increasing economic, legal and societal pressures.  They bear the hallmarks of businesses operating in a highly regulated field, dealing with a multitude of complex legal and related issues every day.

For more than 40 years, boards of education, their superintendents, and other administrators have relied upon the representation of Schenck, Price, Smith & King’s School Law practice group, one of the largest such practices in the state, in all facets of school operations.  Our attorneys have a tremendous depth of experience and practical approach to dealing with the issues faced by school districts.

We represent public schools, Independent Schools (click here for more information on this practice), charter schools, and colleges and universities. Much of our practice focuses on serving as general counsel to schools throughout New Jersey, as well as special counsel to many school districts and other educational entities.  Our clients range from small Pre-K-8 districts to large urban districts with over 30,000 students and budgets in excess of $500 million.  Our experience and familiarity with the needs of school districts enhances our ability to provide legal services efficiently and expeditiously, yet with individualized attention.

Our practice encompasses the full gamut of school law issues, from student and family issues – including special education, student discipline, bullying, residency disputes, pupil records access, First Amendment and technology-related issues – through human resources, administrative, and business office concerns.

Schenck Price also routinely provides counsel on public bidding and contracts, specification development, and construction issues.  Our team of construction law attorneys has handled hundreds of millions of dollars of projects over the years and we have achieved outstanding results for our clients when projects do not go as planned. 

Our school law work also regularly includes counseling on such employment matters as reorganizations, hiring, reductions in force, transfers, leaves of absence, compensation, tenure hearings, and termination.  We are often asked to represent our clients’ interests in a variety of labor matters including collective negotiations, grievance arbitrations, scope of negotiations petitions, and unfair practice charge proceedings.

We regularly represent Boards of Education and other educational entities in proceedings before the Commissioner of Education/Office of Administrative Law, School Ethics Commission, Public Employment Relations Commission, Division on Civil Rights, United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, and in state and federal courts.

Our School Law team possesses considerable litigation experience. While we strive to help our clients avoid litigation, when it becomes necessary we have the expertise to handle any litigious situation. 
School districts face a wide range of issues that are not ordinarily thought of as school law, including environmental issues, corporate issues, insurance coverage, municipal zoning, pension issues, and defense of employment law claims.  We have the resources in-house to address the entire scope of legal issues faced by boards of education.

When it comes to the issues school districts contend with, Schenck Price’s experienced team of attorneys has seen it all.  We know how districts operate, what their day-to-day concerns are, and recognize that, frequently, they need quick, informed and clear-eyed answers when problems arise.


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Services to Clients

Our attorneys help our school clients address the full range of issues, including:

  • Employee performance and discipline issues
  • Employment discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Tenure and seniority
  • Construction issues
  • Collective negotiations
  • Grievance proceedings and arbitration
  • Special education
  • Pupil harassment, intimidation and bullying
  • Pupil discipline
  • Student and staff First Amendment rights
  • Board policy
  • Open Public Meetings Act and Open Public Records Act issues
  • Social media policies
  • Acceptable use policies
  • Energy savings initiatives and power purchase agreements