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Education Law Drills Down

Open any newspaper today and you are likely to see an article on education, often one that addresses legal matters affecting the education community. Law is now a part of the education discussion like never before.

In The Education Sector: Overwhelmed by the Law, Vol. 9 in our 21st Century Legal Career Series, available from Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Education-Sector-Overwhelmed-Century-Career/dp/1946228176 and the National Association for Law Placement https://www.nalp.org/productdetail/?productID=240, we wrote that the massive disruption of K-12 and post-secondary education by the law has to do with major changes in the way learning is being delivered through technology as well as globalization, concern for student rights and privacy, and other factors that have converged on education from many sides.


Our publication cited several trends that were expanding attorney opportunities throughout the education sector, including:

  • U.S. K-12 school districts hiring in-house counsel.
  • Growth in the number of law firms specializing in school district representation.
  • Separating out certain college and university legal functions from the general counsel office and placing them in independent campus legal and quasi-legal offices.

All three of those trends have continued since we published The Education Sector.

Continuing Issues

We also discussed the major legal issues trending in K-12 and on campus, including:

  • Collective Bargaining
  • Common Core Standards
  • Confidentiality of Health Records
  • Disabled Student Participation in Sports
  • Employee Discipline
  • Sexual Misconduct
  • Equal Educational Opportunity
  • Diversity and Gender Equity
  • Individualized Education Plans for Disabled Students
  • Internet Safety Policies
  • Liability for Sports-Related Injuries
  • Every Student Succeeds Act and Standards of Learning
  • Open Meeting Laws
  • School Board Ethics
  • School Violence
  • School Vouchers
  • Separation of Church and State
  • Student-Athlete Codes of Conduct
  • Student-Athlete Drug Testing
  • Student Dress Codes
  • Student Free Speech
  • Student Privacy
  • Classroom Speech
  • Textbook and Instruction Controversies
  • Title IX

Emerging Issues

Since then, a host of new issues have emerged requiring legal counsel and representation, including:

  • Transgender Students
  • Teachers Paying for Substitutes
  • University Investments
  • Disciplining Disabled Students
  • Teacher Evaluations
  • School Safety and Security
  • Bullying
  • Premises Liability
  • Undocumented Students
  • Copyright Issues
  • Unfunded Mandates
  • Curriculum Issues

These additions, plus a growing school population, mean more legal work generated by academic institutions at all levels.


Prospective employers include:

  • Education providers (school districts, charter schools, private schools and colleges and universities)
  • Education Service Companies (compliance consultants, education tech firms,
  • Education Equity Investment Firms (venture capital firms, angel investors and others)
  • Law firms with Education Law Practices
  • Law Firm Education Consulting Subsidiaries
  • Management Consulting Firms
  • Government (The U.S. government alone has 30 separate law offices that practice education law)
  • Trade and Professional Associations
  • Education Advocacy Organizations
  • Foundations