Pullman & Comley’s School Law practice works with public school districts to find practical, innovative and cost effective solutions to the array of legal issues they face. Our attorneys have won groundbreaking cases in both state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, and have established legal precedents that are repeatedly cited by courts and scholarly works on education law. We represent the interests of local and regional school districts in the areas of education, labor and employment law, board governance, special education, vendor relations and student issues. We also work directly with general counsel, senior management, and boards of directors and trustees to provide legal advice and representation in the areas of the law that affect educational institutions.
We have extensive experience in school board governance and provide legal counsel to boards of education as they negotiate contracts, review and revise policies and procedures, develop budgets, respond to Freedom of Information Act requests, draft model policies on federal and state mandates and address other challenges. To assist school boards in remaining focused in serving the school district, our attorneys advise boards of education on board members’ rights and responsibilities and work with school boards when there are conflicts among board members. When necessary, our attorneys have defended client interests in both federal and state courts, as well as in proceedings before numerous administrative agencies including the Freedom of Information Commission, the State Elections Enforcements Commission, and the Commissioner of Human Rights and Opportunities.
Our attorneys continuously represent school boards in special education hearings and advise clients on issues arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and matters relating to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. We assist school district administrators in carrying out the terms of negotiated labor contracts and advise school boards regarding changes in insurance providers or plan provisions, revisions to job descriptions, organizational changes and sub-contracting of bargaining unit work. When labor disputes advance to formal complaints or grievances, we defend school boards before the State Board of Labor Relations, the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the American Arbitration Association and other similar administrative agencies, as well as handling cases in state and federal courts.
Our School Law team includes attorneys from practice areas including business organizations, government finance, property valuation, employee benefits, technology and intellectual property, energy, real estate, environmental and land use, nonprofit organizations, labor and employment, litigation, and cybersecurity, privacy and infrastructure protection. Our team has represented educational institutions on matters ranging from retirement and compensation plans, endowment issues and management of institutional funds, to real estate, financing of capital projects and energy procurement. Additionally, our attorneys provide legal counsel in the areas of contract negotiations and drafting, statutory and regulatory compliance including Title IX, municipal taxation and exemption issues, student affairs and athletics, litigation and alternate dispute resolution, and Constitutional law issues.
Members of the School Law practice publish "Education Law Notes," a blog alerting readers to, and providing insights on, new developments in education law. "Education Law Notes" covers legal matters that pertain to public school districts, as well as private schools, colleges and universities ranging from issues in academics, labor and employment and gender equality to disability rights, social media, bullying and administrative policies and procedures. Visit schoollaw.pullcomblog.com.
News & Insights
- Mark J. Sommaruga Interviewed Regarding "Understanding Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act, Fifth Edition"Connecticut Law Journal, 04.01.2019
- School Law Attorneys Kaufmann, Schurin and Sommaruga Lead Workshops at November CABE/CAPSS ConventionMystic Marriott Hotel, Groton, Connecticut, 11.15.2019
- Holiday Inn Hartford Downtown Area, 11.01.2019
- The Connecticut Association of Schools, 11.01.2019
- Courtyard Waterbury Downtown, 10.29.2019
- Sheraton Hartford South Hotel, 10.22.2019
- Developments from the 2019 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly: New Laws Affecting the Schools (and Public Employers)08.05.2019
- Developments From The 2018 Session of The Connecticut General Assembly: New Laws Affecting The Schools (and Public Employers)08.01.2018
- CABE Journal, 06.2018
- CABE Journal, 05.2018
Pullman & Comley assisted the Southport School and its board with navigating the legal requirements for an historic name change, which included a restatement of its certificate of incorporation.
A Pullman & Comley's School Law attorney's case in a recent Connecticut Superior Court
decision was among the first in the country to interpret and apply the Supreme Court’s new standard under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.
The firm's Education Law attorneys are well-versed on the emerging legal considerations pertaining to transgender students in schools, colleges and universities.