Education Practice Overview

The Porzio Education Team provides litigation and counseling services to a wide variety of public schools, private schools, charter schools, and colleges.  Our litigation services include defending our clients and prosecuting lawsuits instigated by our clients.  We frequently handle employment disputes, commercial disputes, construction and bid disputes, OPRA and OPMA disputes, insurance disputes, student discipline and bullying matters, tenure cases, and school district reconfiguration disputes.  Our extensive counseling services cover countless areas, including student and staff discipline, employment practices, contract and bidding matters, special education, policy drafting, implementation and enforcement, labor negotiations, and safety issues.

In certain matters, our team has distinguished itself with cutting-edge and precedent-setting cases:  

  • In school district reconfiguration cases, our attorneys have handled the only three regional school district dissolutions in state history; precedent-setting sending-receiving disputes; and disputes over the regional school district tax levies.
  • Our attorneys have worked with charter schools from the very inception of the charter school movement, helping to start charter schools throughout the state and helping them to achieve success.
  • Given our long-standing relationship with the Department of Education, we have helped public schools, charter schools and schools that serve children with special needs to work with state and county education officials in a cost-effective manner.
Public Schools

Our education team provides a broad range of legal counseling and litigation services to school districts across the State of New Jersey; we represent over 45 boards of education and individual schools. Our lawyers have successfully litigated a number of precedent-setting high-profile education cases, including send-receive disputes, school district reconfigurations, tenure cases, and New Jersey's first student-on-student harassment case (both the first case ever brought under Title IX and, several years later, the first case brought following the new HIB regulations).

We work closely with other experts within our firm, in areas such as insurance coverage, land use, and environmental law, to provide swift, cost-effective advice to our public school clients. Our firm boasts a former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice and two former assignment judges with decades of experience at the trial and appellate level. They regularly assist our public school clients in developing strategy and in addressing complex constitutional and contractual matters, particularly where there are issues that are likely to be placed before the state or federal courts of New Jersey.

School District Reconfiguration, Funding and Tax Disputes

There can be no higher-stakes matter than one which involves a community’s relationship with its regional school district or its partner in a sending-receiving relationship. In the past quarter century, Porzio attorneys have been involved in virtually every precedent-setting case in these two areas. Porzio attorneys also have been intimately involved in assisting our school district clients in grade and school-level reconfigurations to ensure the most educationally and financially appropriate use of their existing (and sometimes new) facilities.

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Private Schools for Students with Disabilities (PSSD)

Our educational practice extends to serving as general counsel and sometimes special counsel for schools serving students with disabilities. In our work with these schools, we address issues involving regulation and oversight by the Department of Education, as well as a myriad of other areas that typically are faced by PSSDs, such as employment, contractual, financial/budget/audit, student discipline, student records, relationships and issues with district partners, board governance, and, where necessary, litigation. We currently serve as general counsel to ASAH. 

Private Independent Schools

Private independent schools are small businesses whose product happens to be educational programs. Our extensive experience in representing both schools and small businesses enables us to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of private independent schools. In representing some of New Jersey’s finest private schools, our experience in relevant employment issues, contract issues and construction disputes, serves our clients well.

Charter Schools

Porzio is the leading legal service provider to New Jersey charter schools and charter management organizations. As counsel to charter schools, we provide legal services in the areas of board governance, personnel management, real estate transactions, creation of “friends” entities, special education, Department of Education audits, charter agreement negotiations, public bidding, disputes with local resident school districts and other business matters. We also represent charter management organizations with respect to their contracts with charter schools and in general matters.

Colleges and Universities

Porzio attorneys regularly provide legal advice and representation to institutions of higher education.  We have been involved in high-profile matters involving New Jersey’s largest and most prestigious universities, as well as smaller, local colleges. These matters frequently involve issues of employment law, bidding disputes, land use and construction, insurance, board governance, OPMA and OPRA, and intellectual property. We pride ourselves on having an experienced team with a cost-effective approach to a myriad of issues. 

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