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
- IN THE NEWS: Attorney Mark J. Sommaruga Presents Arguments For Region 14 Connecticut Supreme Court CaseRepublican American, 05.20.2015
- The Day, 11.16.2014
- Republican American, 09.09.2014
- Republican American, 08.20.2014
- Republican American, 06.14.2014
- IN THE NEWS: Mark Sommaruga Discusses Authoring "Understanding the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and Access to Public Meetings and Records"Connecticut Law Tribune, 12.20.2013
- Hartford Business Journal, 07.01.2013
- The Courant, 06.06.2013
- Hartford Business Journal, 06.04.2013
- Connecticut Law Tribune, 06.03.2013
- WORKSHOP: Attorney Stephen M. Sedor To Present "Ensuring Safe School Climate in Your District: Protecting Students, Complying with Conflicting Legal Requirements, and Limiting District Liability"10.13.2016
- SEMINAR: Attorneys David Atkins and Michael Kurs Discuss Developments In Antitrust Law Affecting the Regulation of Licensed Professionals05.19.2016
- SEMINAR: Learning Together: Recent Developments in the Law and Practical Solutions for Connecticut's Public Schools
- School Law Attorneys Present Workshops on FOIA, Title IX and Transgender Students, and Board Member Speech at CABE Convention11.20.2015
- 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
- Summary of 2016 Connecticut Legislative Enactments Affecting The Public Schools and Public-Sector Employers
- HartfordBusiness.com, 07.08.2016
- The Connecticut Law Tribune, 03.27.2015
- Clear Thinking: The State Board of Education’s Concussion Education Plan and Guidelines for Connecticut SchoolsConnecticut Association of Boards of Education Journal, 02.2015
- Connecticut Law Tribune, 01.30.2015
- Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Journal, 12.2014
- Fairfield County Business Journal, 11.23.2014
- Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Journal, 11.2014
- Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Journal, 10.2014
- The Attorney-Client Privilege In The Public Sector: The Dangers Of "Public" Reliance Upon Opinions And Careless DisclosuresConnecticut Law Tribune, 09.29.2014
- Residency and “Illegal Alien Status” Are Not Mutually Exclusive for School Accommodations: A Friendly Reminder From Washington D.C. and “Do’s and Don’ts”Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Journal, 09.2014
- JD Supra Perspectives, 06.16.2014
- Connecticut Law Tribune, 06.03.2014
- ALERT: Paraprofessional FMLA Regulations Formally Adopted: School Paraprofessionals Will Now Be Eligible For FMLA Leave Once They Have Worked 950 Hours After May 12, 2014
- Fairfield County Business Journal, 04.21.2014
- ALERT: Dear Colleague Letter Firmly Urges Districts to Abandon “Zero Tolerance” in Student Discipline Policies01.29.2014
- Connecticut Law Tribune, 01.23.2014
- Connecticut Law Tribune, 08.05.2013
- Fairfield County Business Journal, 08.05.2013
- New State Law prohibits Use of “AlertNow” and Other Automated Notification Systems to Communicate the Date, Time and Location of Pending Referenda
- Connecticut Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Quarterly, Winter 2011
- Monkey-Business: Connecticut's Six Billion Dollar Gorilla and the Insufficiency of the Emergence of the ADA as Justification for the Elimination of Second Injury FundsConnecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Fall 2007
- PRESS RELEASE: Pullman & Comley's Labor and Employment Practice Welcomes Donald F. Houston and Stephen M. Sedor11.16.2015
- PRESS RELEASE: Pullman & Comley Attorneys Named to 2015 Connecticut Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists10.19.2015
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.