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
- Connecticut Public Radio, 03.07.2022
- Mark Sommaruga Appears on WFSB Channel 3 and FOX61 News to Discuss the Extension of Connecticut's School Mask MandateWFSB Channel 3 & FOX61 News, 02.14.2022
- Connecticut Public Radio, 01.28.2022
- Greenwich, New Canaan/Darien + Rowayton, Stamford, Westport and At Home Magazines, 03.2021
- Mark Sommaruga Speaks with Multiple News Outlets Regarding School Policies and COVID-19 VaccinationsWNPR, FOX 61, WTNH News 8, and CT Post, December 19 - December 29, 2020
- Forbes, 12.31.2020
- CT Mirror, 09.04.2020
- Zoom, 05.11.2022
- Zoom Webinar, 03.24.2022
- Virtual, 03.11.2022
- Zoom Webinar, 02.23.2022
- Sheraton Hartford South, Rocky Hill, 12.10.2021
- Mystic Marriott Hotel, Groton, 11.12.2021
- Webinar, 08.26.2021
- Executive Order 10E and the Municipal Budget Process in 2021: Similar (But Not Quite Back) to "Normal"04.13.2021
- The CABE Journal, 04.2021
- Recent Changes to CDC Guidance May Allow Employers to Safely Return Employees Exposed to COVID-19 to Work in Fewer Than 14 Days12.14.2020
- The Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, 12.04.2020
- Governor Lamont Declares Continuing State of Emergency, Extends Executive Emergency Powers Through February 9, 202109.04.2020
- Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7I Offers Local Budget and Deadline Clarification Amidst COVID-1903.23.2020
- Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Education Committee Has Spoken (Part Three - Even More Bills)Education Law Notes , 04.27.2022
- Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Education Committee Has Spoken (Part Two: Funding-Related Bills)Education Law Notes , 04.21.2022
- Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Education Committee Has Spoken (Part One)Education Law Notes , 04.19.2022
- Can Your Board Legally Censure a Rogue Board Member Without Violating the First Amendment? Absolutely Says Unanimous U.S. Supreme CourtEducation Law Notes , 04.01.2022
- Education Law Notes , 03.23.2022
- Education Law Notes , 02.17.2022
- Education Law Notes , 02.12.2022
- Decision Time: What Does the End of Statewide Mask and Vaccination Mandates Really Mean for Connecticut Schools?Education Law Notes , 02.08.2022
- Court Upholds Law Ending the Religious Exemption to Immunizations for Students in Connecticut SchoolsEducation Law Notes , 01.14.2022
- Education Law Notes , 01.12.2022
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.
Superintendents' Legal Issues Forum
Superintendents' Legal Issues Forum
The Superintendents’ Legal Issues Forum is a professional group organized to address the specific needs of Connecticut superintendents. Once again, this platform will provide members with an opportunity to meet with peers in person, engage in enriching discussions and develop a network of well-informed colleagues.
Under the guidance of our School Law attorneys, the Forum provides superintendents with the latest legal advice on topics relevant to superintendents, their school districts and their administrations. Meeting five times each year, Forum members receive legal guidance and learn the impact of recent court decisions and new legislation, including the legal risks and complications that schools face in the age of COVID-19, transgender athletic policies, special education concerns, the non-tenured teacher renewal process, FERPA, and much more. Additionally, we address topics that can assist you with difficult aspects in your superintendent role, including tips on how to get your board’s budget passed, collective bargaining negotiations and employee discipline matters.
Education Law Notes Blog
Attorneys from Pullman & Comley's School Law practice publish "Education Law Notes," a blog providing insights on new developments in education law, covering legal matters related to public school districts, private schools, colleges and universities.