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Education Lawyer: Who Are They? What Do They Do?

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What is an education lawyer?

Education lawyers, also known as academic lawyers, handle legal matters related to student education. In general, education lawyers represent individuals and organizations, including school boards, school districts, teachers, and parents. It should be noted that education lawyers are not involved in setting education standards.

In addition to legal matters, education lawyers must understand the intricacies of education law and how it impacts the system. They also perform numerous tasks on behalf of educational institutions on contract or salary. Hire an education lawyer if you need legal advice or guidance when navigating education law.

You can learn more about education lawyers by checking out this page.

Who needs an education lawyer?

You need an education lawyer when you need someone to interpret laws related to schools, education, and administration. Education lawyers can render services and advice when considering the constitutional and civil aspects of education laws.

The following individuals and organizations may need an education lawyer:

  • School boards
  • School districts
  • Superintendent
  • Teachers
  • Parent-teacher associations
  • Fundraising groups
  • Coaches
  • Tutors
  • Volunteers
  • Driver’s education instructors
  • Substitute teachers
  • Support staff members
  • Administrative personnel
  • And more

Almost anyone who works with or at an educational institution may need legal advice from an education lawyer. Education lawyers possess a strong command of education laws and how they influence specific areas of academic administration and compliance.

Here is another page on the types of institutions and people that education lawyers help.

What is education law?

Education law is the federal and state bodies of law that focuses on matters related to educational institutions. Federal standards are set forth by the U.S. Department of Education. However, states may choose to exceed federal standards but must meet them at a minimum.

Education laws broadly set standards for the following areas:

  • Discrimination
  • Special education
  • Private education
  • Public education
  • Home-school education
  • Montessori education
  • Licensure & credentialing
  • Administration
  • Civil rights
  • Contracts

The above-referenced areas, which by no means constitute a comprehensive list of all areas covered by education law, affect educational institutions tremendously. These education law areas influence testing protocols, academic standards, financial matters, safety procedures, and personal liberties.

This article will help you understand the policies that influence the U.S. education system.

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What types of issues do education lawyers help with?

Education lawyers handle a wide range of issues related to education law. They may work closely with schools or influence policy at the state or federal level.

Types of issues, by no means exhaustive, that education lawyers help with include:

  • Coordinate and oversee grievance procedures and command chains
  • Oversee Protection of Minors' policy compliance and training
  • Provide training to staff and students for sexual harassment prevention
  • Remain up-to-date on all laws and legislation related to education law
  • Handle lawsuits filed against the educational institution
  • Ensures that the school meets minimum insurance requirements
  • Maintain legal compliance with credentialing and licensing
  • Represents the school at arbitration, mediation, or in court
  • Evaluates disciplinary measures related to faculty and administration
  • Intercept, execute, and manage contracts the school has with others

As you can see, education lawyers have a diverse skillset and experience that other lawyers may not possess.

Here is an article that also discusses issues that education lawyers handle.

How much does an education lawyer cost?

An education lawyer costs anywhere between $150 and $500 per hour. However, rates will vary and may cost as much as $1,000 an hour. While they may work on an education lawyer salary, they may also work as contractors to schools.

An education lawyer or academic lawyer may also offer different fee structures, including:

  • Hourly rates
  • Part-time salaries
  • Full-time salaries
  • Flat fees
  • Contingency fees
  • Subscription services
  • Pro bono fees
  • In-kind trade

The amount of money that you can expect to pay depends upon several factors. Before searching online for a “business lawyer near me” or “civil attorney near me” to handle school-related issues, take the time to vet your options with an education lawyer and negotiate the fees before making a formal agreement.

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Hiring an education lawyer

When hiring an education lawyer, it is essential that you select the right professional to provide guidance and legal advice. Here are a few steps that your school can take toward hiring an education lawyer:

Step 1: Determine if you want to hire on salary or contract

Organizations and individuals have different needs and budgets. Begin the process by determining if you want to hire an education lawyer on salary or contract.

  • If you are hiring a salaried education lawyer: Go through the channels you typically use to hire others in your school or school district. Your human resources (HR) department can help.
  • If you are hiring an education lawyer on contract: Continue following the steps described below in this article.

Both types of work follow different employment laws. If this is your first instance of working with an education lawyer via legal services contract, ensure that you understand the contractor laws applicable to your work relationship.

Step 2: Start the vetting process

If you are a school or education administrator and need legal help, start your search for an education attorney. Ensure that you find a legal professional with experience in this area. While it may be tempting to search online for a “business attorney near me” or a civil rights lawyer, take the time to vet education lawyers specifically.

Also, you must hire a lawyer who is licensed to practice in your state. For example, if you need an education lawyer in Orlando, hire an education lawyer in Florida. They will have the knowledge and skills you need to protect your students and your school.

Step 2: Get an initial consultation

Education lawyers offer prospective clients initial consultations to establish whether the client needs a lawyer and, if so, how they can be helped. It is a wise move to ask an education lawyer key questions during the vetting process.

Questions to ask during your initial consultation may include:

  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • What is your track record of success?
  • How have you contributed to influencing policy?
  • Do you like practicing education law?
  • How much do your services cost?
  • Do you have client testimonials I can review?
  • How do you handling your billing process?
  • Other specific questions your educational institution may have

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Step 3: Sign a legal services agreement

If you find an attorney with whom you want to work, negotiate a services contract. Find out what terms your board will agree to and work from there. The education lawyer may accept your proposal for work or counter with new terms.

After reaching an agreement, both parties should sign a legal services agreement that includes:

  • Acknowledgment of the agreement by both parties
  • List of services that the education lawyer should provide
  • Cost of services and expected payment terms
  • How to handle disputes related to the agreement
  • Release of liability and claims
  • Guarantees that the education lawyer is willing to provide
  • How to handle written communications
  • Signature and datelines to make the agreement official

The most important thing to keep in mind when hiring an education lawyer is to take your time, if you can, and select the right person for the right job. This individual should be able and willing to address your concerns while providing a sensible solution for your school.

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ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.


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