We have been one of the most knowledgeable and experienced firms in the field of education law for 60 years.
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While some firms dabble in education law – we do not – and for a clear and certain reason: education law is a very specific area of practice. We take pride in having lawyers who are on top of leading developments in the field and are fully knowledgeable of both the day-to-day and long-term challenges our school districts and other educational institutions face.
Public School Districts
We currently serve as Solicitor for ten public school districts, all located in the suburban Philadelphia area.
We also frequently serve as special counsel for public school districts for whom we are not solicitors in matters involving:
- Special education
- Land acquisition and development
- Student expulsions
- Labor and employment matters, including employment discrimination
Other Educational Clients
We also represent other educational entities, ranging from post-secondary colleges and community colleges to charter schools and educational management companies.
Scope of Representations
General School Law
- In-service counseling of school boards, administrators, supervisors, teachers, and other school personnel
- Drafting a full range of policy and administrative procedures including Board Operating Procedures, Business, Operations, Employment, Programs, Student Welfare, and Community topics
- State Ethics Act compliance
- Sunshine Act compliance
- Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law
- Property Tax Assessment and Earned Income Taxes
- The governing provisions of the Pennsylvania School Code
- Conducting hearings for charter school applications on behalf of public schools
Employment and Labor
- Grievances, Arbitrations, and Collective Bargaining Agreement Interpretation
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Unemployment Compensation
- Litigation before U.S. Department of Education, the Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
- Affordable Care Act
Special Education and Student Services
- Special Education, ranging from day-to-day consultations and attendance at Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings to administrative due process hearings and litigation in State and Federal Courts
- Student Discipline
- Student Attendance/Residency Matters
- Student Rights and Civil Rights – including search and seizure, First Amendment, and privacy issues
Contracts, Construction, and Business
- Assessment Law and Appeals
- Contract Drafting and Review
- Local Government and Taxation Matters
- School Construction
- Obtaining Voter Approval to Incur Electoral Debt under the Local Government Unit Debt Act
Why Educational Clients Choose Wisler Pearlstine
We know school law. Through the years and due to the diversity of our school district client base, we have learned that each district is unique in the challenges it faces both on a day-to-day basis and in general. However, school districts share a common and vast body of substantive and procedural law that applies uniquely to them. Our experience has given us a working knowledge of this body of law which enables us to better serve the diverse group of districts we represent. We pride ourselves on working closely with the school districts to establish best practices to prevent issues from arising and to provide quality, practical advice on how to address unique matters that inevitably confront them.
We do more than “school law” for schools. At Wisler Pearlstine, a school law client can have virtually all of its needs met by one law firm. We have attorneys available to assist school districts with any legal question affecting their operations. For example, our firm’s construction law department has years of experience in construction litigation and is available as a resource to assist on construction issues. We render tax advice, when needed, to our school clients, particularly when they are dealing with pensions, bond issues, and the like. School districts often must interact with other municipal subdivisions and our firm’s Municipal Law practice group is available to handle special projects for school districts, including areas such as zoning, land planning, and condemnation matters.
We educate and prepare our clients to prevent problems down the road. Through education, preparation, and availability, we have been effective in giving school districts concise, accurate, and thorough advice that withstands challenge. Our goal for our clients is to help them achieve their objectives in a legally compliant way. We put a premium on educating our clients on the state of the law and we do that in several ways:
- We provide frequent in-service counseling of school boards, administrators, supervisors, teachers, and other school personnel. This includes hosting (at no charge) periodic group meetings with special education and human resource administrators from all the districts we serve as Solicitor to discuss important legal issues of common interest.
- We make sure our clients are kept abreast of current developments in the constantly evolving areas of school law through frequent opinion letters. In addition, our firm creates and publishes the Solicitor’s Office Update, which gives all members of the school district community, including board members, easy access to education law news and developments.
- Most importantly, we counsel our clients, often on a daily basis, on how to handle specific issues as they arise, making sure that all legal implications have been thoroughly explored to prevent litigation from ever occurring.
Preparing our clients to face both everyday and extraordinary challenges is equally important. We work with our school district clients to develop policies and procedures that will guide them through the recurring, but rarely routine challenges encountered by school districts in navigating the rights of students, employees, and taxpayers. We work with business administrators, facilities directors, and other administrators to ensure that procurement measures are not only compliant with the various requirements imposed by Pennsylvania and federal law, but that they also contain contractual provisions that protect the interests of school districts.
We have built a statewide reputation in the practice of school law. Our attorneys are active in the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitor Association and are frequent presenters at Pennsylvania School Boards Association workshops. We have lectured extensively to attorneys, school board members, administrators, and teachers on various school law issues on the behalf of the Eastern Pennsylvania Association of School Personnel Administrators, the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, the Delaware County Intermediate Unit, the National Business Institute, and other professional associations and seminar providers.
Other Areas of Practice
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Business, Corporate, and Tax
- Commercial Litigation
- Condominium and Community Associations
- Construction Litigation
- Education Law
- Employment and Labor
- Employment Litigation
- Estate Planning and Administration
- Family Law
- Intellectual Property