Educational and Religious Organizations

We handle the full spectrum of operational and policy concerns facing private, religious, and public schools as well as religious organizations.

Functioning as general counsel, outside counsel, and special counsel as needed, we provide comprehensive advice on everything from asbestos removal to zoning approval. Our lawyers are knowledgeable, accessible, and responsive as they work proactively to help boards and administrators avoid problems and maintain a positive public image.

We appreciate the budgetary constraints affecting parochial and public school districts, charter and community schools, and religious organizations, so we make every effort to provide cost-effective counsel. Because we have served on every kind of school board and the leadership of many governmental units, we understand our clients’ concerns and can deliver real-world advice based on first-hand experience.

In addition to serving as legal counsel, we are experienced in resolving our clients’ unique management concerns, investigations, and disputes. We help administrators and boards make sound, informed decisions regarding such issues as competitive bidding; contracts; employment issues; refining the nature and extent of services; and managing their real and personal property, including all kinds of tax issues.

Our Clients

  • Organizations throughout Ohio, southeast Michigan, North and South Carolina, and Florida
  • Private schools, many of them affiliated with religious organizations and denominations
  • Independent and public community schools
  • Charter schools
  • Public school districts
  • Leading universities, community colleges, and technical colleges
  • Religious organizations, including groups of religious men and women and hierarchical and congregational churches, for both local and larger religious bodies

Our Services

  • Comprehensive general counsel and outside counsel guidance on organizational issues, governance, training, development, compliance, general policies, liability, management, and business concerns
  • Labor and employment counsel to public school districts, community schools, colleges, and universities regarding labor negotiations, contract renewal and tenure issues, unfair labor practices, grievances, and arbitrations
  • Employee and student safety, instruction, eligibility, discipline, enforcement of school codes, and facilitating suspension and expulsion hearings and review
  • Advice on tax-exempt and nonprofit issues for private, public, and religious educational organizations and religious charities
  • Crafting guidelines for student and faculty use of internet, social media, and networking sites, as well as issues relating to educational and employment rights and academic freedom
  • Advice on organizational liability issues, with review of liability insurance coverage, such as self-insurance programs, to help limit exposure to claims for damages
  • Property issues, including gifts, transfers, and resolution of zoning and eminent domain disputes
  • Ensuring compliance with all statutes and regulations governing such issues as public information, employment law, disabilities accommodation, and conflicts of interest
  • Assisting in the startup of new public community schools, providing advice regarding negotiations of Ohio sponsorship agreements, recruitment and training of the governing board, real estate leases, the Ohio Sunshine Law, the Ohio Privacy Act, and contracts with third-party financial agents and other service providers
  • Advising on the full range of school law issues, from student discipline and privacy rights to contract renewal, tenure issues, school financing, and labor and management matters
  • Bond issues, fundraising, governmental regulatory matters and public levies, real estate transactions (including property bequests to religious schools and nonprofit organizations), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and employee benefits, and state and federal tax issues (particularly on 501(c)(3) issues for private or community schools)
  • Regularly updating a principal's handbook, which contains information on federal and state laws and regulations in addition to workable policies for issues affecting students, teachers, parents, coaches, administrators, and regulatory agencies