Education

Our attorneys have a range of experience, enabling them to serve clients in matters related to public schools and districts, private schools, colleges, universities, and educational service providers in both the public and for-profit sectors.

In-house counsel and other organizational leaders generally have a sophisticated grasp of the legal requirements that underpin their actions. That means when an educational organization is looking for legal help, it needs a law firm whose lawyers not only have a deep understanding of education law but who are also equipped to develop and provide practical solutions to the very specific problems that face educational organizations. And, when the organization is sued, outside counsel must handle the litigation with the sensitivity that its mission requires. Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller lawyers are equipped to do just that.

Meet Our Education Team
Talent

The lawyers in our Education Law practice are extraordinarily talented, with a wealth of experience both inside and outside private practice. Bonnie Hoffman represents school districts, independent schools, charter schools, and also provides guidance to parents and students, in the public and for-profit education sectors. She is well versed in both state and federal education laws, including those regarding special education, and is able to advise educational entities on how those laws and others impact them. Our team also includes two former Philadelphia City Solicitors, Mark Aronchick and Joseph Dworetzky; Joe also served a term as a member of Philadelphia's School Reform Commission.

Flexibility

Our experience dealing with federal and state statutes, regulations, and agency guidance that impact on educational organizations gives us a unique perspective on the legal problems that concern educational organizations.

Experience

Apart from the legal work we perform on behalf of our education clients, many of our lawyers sit on the boards of public school districts, private schools, colleges, and universities. In addition, our lawyers have lectured on education law to undergraduate and graduate level university students as well as to the National Association of College and University Attorneys.

College & University Representation

Defending universities and graduate institutions in a range of matters

We have represented major universities in a wide variety of litigation, including matters involving intellectual property disputes, First Amendment challenges, antitrust allegations, civil rights actions, research misconduct investigations, as well as tort and contract actions. Our work has encompassed all areas of administration, faculty, student, and alumni matters. For example, our lawyers have successfully:

  • Worked to defend athletic opportunities for students. We represented the gymnasts of West Chester University in a Title IX action that saved the team from elimination and have since negotiated the restoration of teams in Massachusetts and Florida;
  • Defended a nationally recognized university’s teaching hospital in a class action challenging the hospital’s not-for-profit status;
  • Represented a faculty member and university in a race discrimination lawsuit;
  • Represented a nationally prominent medical school in its effort to terminate the employment of a tenured faculty member accused of research misconduct;
  • Represented a university in a wrongful death action filed by the family of an alumnus who died in a fraternity party accident;
  • Represented a university in an intellectual property dispute with a pharmaceutical company over revenues from a newly developed drug.
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Pre-K-12 Education

Representing public, private, and charter schools

Our lawyers have frequently been hired by private and public entities in the Pre-K-12 education arena to handle a wide range of matters including the following:

  • Defending a school district in a proposed class action lawsuit regarding the school district’s Extended School Year services;
  • Representing a school district in connection with a charter school’s attempt to appeal the denial of its charter school application;
  • Defending a private school against a claim of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act filed by New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights;
  • Defended a private K-12 school network against a United States Department of Justice complaint alleging a pattern and practice of discriminating against children with disabilities allegedly in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Represented a charter school in a contract dispute with its food service vendor;
  • Conducted an in-depth analysis of the delivery of special education in a large public school district and made recommendations on how to improve services and make the best use of public dollars;
  • Assessed, analyzed, and made recommendations regarding how to improve the tax collection efforts of a school district;
  • Assessed the possibility of reducing transportation costs in a school district;
  • Represented school districts as creditors in bankruptcy;
  • Represented a charter school in its special education due process hearings;
  • Represented a charter school in a religious discrimination dispute;
  • Represented a charter school in connection with student disciplinary hearings;
  • Drafted and revised a charter school’s student-parent handbook, including all federal and state required policies for the charter school;
  • Represented entities in connection with E-rate disputes;
  • Represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education in a trial before the Commonwealth Court, which sought to improve the financial management and status of an academically and financially distressed school district;
  • Represented the Commonwealth and a school district in litigations involving placing caps on the number of children enrolled in charter schools;
  • Conducted a five-week trial in the Commonwealth Court on the funding phase of school desegregation litigation.
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Education Statutes & Regulations

Advising on how state and federal statutes affect schools

Our lawyers are well versed in education statutes and regulations including the Pennsylvania Public School Code, federal and state “Right to Know” acts, the Pennsylvania “Sunshine Act,” the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Title IX. We are able to advise independent and for-profit schools as well as other educational entities on how those laws and others impact them. We also understand accreditation issues, having counseled an accreditation organization that reviews colleges, universities, secondary schools, and primary schools.

We are defending a private preschool against charges of unlawful disability discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, stemming from a complaint by parents that the school discriminated against a student based on the student’s disability when the school disenrolled the student.

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