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Education Law practitioners may represent public school districts, school committees, private schools and colleges, and teachers or students, as well as government agencies or nonprofits. Lawyers will often develop expertise in special education, school discipline, and numerous employment law and labor issues. Education lawyers are also often involved with compliance issues. 

Education Law Career Path Resources

Education Law Faculty

Education Law Path View

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  • Core Course

    Administrative Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    This course is designed for students interested in regulatory law and those who seek additional coverage of pertinent constitutional law topics. Coverage includes the sources and nature of agency authority, agency rule making and adjudication, and judicial review of agency action. Constitutional issues addressed include the interplay of power among the three federal branches, procedural due process, and justiciability issues such as standing, ripeness, and mootness. Special emphasis is placed on the federal Administrative Procedure Act; state analogs may be studied as well. Attention also may be given to the internal functioning of typical administrative bodies and to the relationship between regulators and the regulated community.

  • Core Course

    Education and the Law

    2 Credit (Elective)

    Concentrating on public education, this course examines the increasing number of federal and state laws and regulations and court decisions that influence or control schools. Special attention is given to current issues, for example, students' freedom of speech and press, school prayer, school integration, discipline, school funding, bilingual education, special education, and the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process, as they affect students and faculty. Utilizing a problem-based approach, the respective rights and responsibilities of the various constituencies in an educational setting are examined.

  • Core Course

    Special Education Law

    2 Credit (Elective)

    Special education law governs the delivery of education and related services to students with special needs. Through a review of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (federal law) and M.G.L.c. 71B (state law), as well as the study of case law, topics such as the determination of eligibility for special education services; the provision of a free and appropriate public education; the evaluation and development of an individualized education program (IEP); the composition and role of a student's team; and student discipline will be examined. Practical issues related to the representation of school districts and parents of students in need of special education services will be explored through simulated IEP team meeting and due process hearing exercises.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Other Course

    Juvenile Law

    2 Credit (Elective)

    Explores the primary methods by which the state defines and controls juvenile delinquency in our society. Through the study of case law, students are exposed to the history and philosophy of the juvenile justice system and to the concept of juvenile delinquency. In particular, focus is given to the unique juvenile court, its roles as a legal system and as a social welfare system, and a comparative analysis of juvenile law and process. Also explored are dependency, neglect, and diversion programs.

  • Recommended Course

    Children and the Law

    2 Credit (Elective)

    The theme of this seminar is the manner in which tensions related to the division of power and control play out between children and parents, children and the state, and parents and the state in a wide variety of contexts. Topics include, but are not limited to, the right of parents to make medical, educational, and other decisions about their children without state intervention; First Amendment rights of children; rights of young children in school; children's economic relationship within the family; child abuse and neglect; child custody; corporal punishment; and the nature and scope of constitutional rights and privileges in delinquency proceedings.

  • Recommended Course

    Disability Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    Examines the legal protections and status of people with disabilities. The course explores issues relevant to the workplace and to access to public accommodations and services. Particular focus is on rights conferred under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and Massachusetts antidiscrimination laws. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the professional skills requirements. This course may be offered in alternative years.

  • Recommended Course

    School Governance and Teachers’ Rights

    2 Credit (Elective)

    This course will provide students with a practical introduction to the substantive areas of education law pertaining to the operation of school districts and the rights of teachers and other school staff through a review of relevant state and federal statutes and regulations, and court decisions. Topics covered will include the role and functions of school boards, school finance, school district liability, teacher certification, collective bargaining, academic freedom, and teacher tenure and dismissal. Practical issues will be explored through a student group project on providing a school board with advice on the development of a proposed policy and a simulated teacher discipline hearing.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Other Course

    Local Government Law

    2 Credit (Elective)

    This class will examine the legal structure and powers of cities and towns, and consider how the law interacts with municipalities' ability to confront specific policy or transactional challenges. The class will be organized around a series of case studies through which students will confront an array of the types of questions faced by attorneys who represent, appear before, or litigate against local governments. Topics considered this year will include: a municipality's role in enforcing federal immigration laws; local regulation of "sharing economy" businesses such as ride sharing and short-term rentals; selling a parcel of public property for large-scale private development; redistricting and managing a local election; funding the operation of a new public space; and structuring an incentive package to encourage a business to locate in a specific city.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Other Course

    Administrative Law Clinic

    2/3 Credit (Clinic)

    Placements inside agencies or in organizations or offices that work before agencies are within the broad scope of the clinic. Students in this clinical component spend 10 (2-credit) or 15 (3-credit) hours per week on fieldwork. Given the broad range of possible placements, students' experiences can range from acting as a law clerk to an administrative law judge or hearing officer to advocating before an agency. Students will submit weekly journals, describing and reflecting on their experiences in the field, and will meet in a series of seminars with the course instructor and/or the Clinical Director to explore the relationship between the principles covered in the substantive class and the students' fieldwork. NOTE: ELIGIBILITY FOR SOME PLACEMENTS IN THIS COURSE IS DEPENDENT ON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A BACKGROUND CHECK. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    Government Lawyer Clinic

    4 Credit (Clinic)

    This clinical course gives students an opportunity to participate in and to analyze the work of a lawyer in a government setting. Participants will spend 12 hours per week working in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office under the supervision of assistant attorneys general or another government agency. Students may assist with various aspects of litigation, such as research, investigation, pleadings, discovery, motions, trials, and appeals. Students must attend a weekly, two-hour class that will explore the skills required in representing the government as well as such policy issues as defining the "public interest" and the conflicts between representing the public and defending the government. NOTE: ELIGIBILITY FOR THIS COURSE IS DEPENDENT ON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A BACKGROUND CHECK. CONTACT PROFESSOR CARRIKER IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS (727-2200 Ext. 2118). Prerequisites/corequisites include Evidence or Trial Practice. This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Other Course

    Public Interest Law Seminar / Clinic

    3, 4, or 5 Credit (Clinic)

    This one-semester package includes both a clinical course and seminar. Students will spend 5 (1-credit), 10 (2-credit), or 15 (3-credit) hours per week in their fieldwork, depending on the number of credits for the clinical component portion. In addition, all students will attend a weekly, 2-hour seminar (2 credits). The total package will therefore be offered for 3, 4, or 5 credits, with the 3-credit package offered only to Evening and Special Part-Time Program students. For the clinical component, the core placements will include the New England Law Clinical Law Office and off-site placements, such as Greater-Boston Legal Services, where students will handle civil cases. Students will be practicing under Rule 3:03 of the Supreme Judicial Court, typically representing indigent clients. An explicit goal of this course is to provide our students with direct experience providing "legal services for the benefit of persons of limited means." See MASS. R PROF. CONDUCT R. 6.1. Placements in governmental agencies will not be the focus of this clinic, since the placements in other clinical courses are so heavily weighted toward the government sector (e.g. Government Lawyer, Tax Clinic, Administrative Law Clinic, Criminal Procedure II Clinic, Federal Courts Clinic). The seminar portion of the course will focus on public interest law and the public interest lawyer. Classes, or units of classes, will include issues such as: introduction to substantive areas of public interest law (e.g., family law, housing law, government benefits); ethics (e.g. issues affecting public interest lawyers, regulation of the profession and delivery of legal services); clients (unmet legal needs, and issues of poverty, race and gender); the courts (dispensing justice to persons of limited means); and legal education (the role of law schools in preparing lawyers for the practice). Issues from the students' fieldwork will be incorporated into the classes, to strengthen the connections between classroom and fieldwork, as well as theory and practice.

    Prerequisites/Corequisites: Evidence or Trial Practice.

    This course satisfies the Experiential Education/Professional Skills Requirement.

  • Recommended Course

    Labor Law

    3 Credit (Elective)

    Focuses primarily on regulation by the National Labor Relations Board and the federal courts of union/management relations in private industry. Much time is devoted to gaining an understanding of the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act. Specific topics surveyed include union organization tactics, including use of company and union propaganda, representation elections, determination of bargaining units, contract negotiations, arbitration proceedings, strikes, boycotts, pickets, the rights of striking employees, and a union's duty to employees.

    This course may be offered every other year.

  • Recommended Course

    Negotiation

    3 Credit (Professional Skills)

    Other Stage Three Options:

    Mediation OR Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Explores the theory and the art of resolving conflict through negotiation. Various styles are presented for comparison and analysis. Students are urged to evaluate their own intuitive style and to experience others. Practical experience is achieved through one-on-one and group negotiations exercises. The theory of conflict, strategic choice, ethical issues, and the negotiator's dilemma are presented in a variety of substantive contexts. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirement.

  • Recommended Course

    Mediation

    3 Credit (Professional Skills)

    Other Stage Three Options:

    Negotiation OR Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Students are introduced to the principles of conflict resolution through the mediation process and through evolving mediation hybrids, including learning about the legal, ethical, sociological, and procedural aspects of mediation through a series of simulated exercises. Students participate directly in simulations drawn from many areas involving conflict, such as family law, trusts and estates, land use and real estate, business, sports law, construction, entertainment, and employment. During the second half of the course, the focus is on the role of lawyers in the mediation process and the skills needed to be an effective and appropriate advocate in resolving disputes for clients. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirements.

  • Recommended Course

    Alternative Dispute Resolution

    2 Credit (Professional Skills)

    Other Stage Three Options:

    Negotiation OR Mediation

    This course focuses on alternative methods of dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. In-class simulations of fact patterns are used as a means of illustrating certain resolution methods. Please check the most recent course registration information to determine if this course meets the Experiential Education/Professional Skills requirements.