Education

Today's educational institutions face a range of complex legal issues at least as broad as those faced by highly-regulated industries. Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP has one of the most extensive education law practices in New England. The firm represents over 80 school committees, public school districts, colleges and universities and private schools. Its diverse school clientele ranges from large cities and towns to smaller communities and educational collaboratives. The firm's attorneys have the expertise, experience and resources to service all of their legal needs, including collective bargaining, special education, arbitrations, litigation and the full range of current legal issues, including student rights and discipline, service contracts, discrimination, the impact of Education Reform, and all statutory issues.

A significant part of the Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP education law practice is in the field of special education. In this area, the firm has counseled over 200 school committees on the adequacy of programs under Chapter 766 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It has represented clients in hearings and litigation arising under these and other statutes.

The firm has concentrated in education law for more than 25 years, and can provide first-rate, comprehensive legal services efficiently and cost-effectively. The firm emphasizes a preventive maintenance approach, based upon our strong belief that proper legal advice prevents problems before they occur. The firm devotes a considerable part of our practice to assisting our clients in anticipating problems and avoiding costly disputes and litigation through client training and communication.

The firm's experience in the field of education enables us to provide our clients with a broad range of services in such operation and legal matters as:

  • All facets of labor and employment including hiring, tenure, discipline, termination and collective bargaining.
  • Issues pertaining to the powers and duties of administrators and school committees, and matters of governance.
  • Interrelationships among the school, municipal, state and federal government relative to a number of issues including school finance.
  • All facets of special education and education of persons with disabilities including section 504 and the ADA.
  • Training and staff development.
  • Evaluation of staff.
  • Accreditation processes.
  • Constitutional questions covering all curricular and disciplinary topics such as student rights, academic freedom, church/state dilemmas and due process.
  • Plant operation functions such as procurement, construction, facilities development and contract negotiations with service providers.
  • Representation in agency, court and appellate litigation.
     

If you have specific questions regarding our Special Education practice's capabilities, please contact:

Mary Ellen Sowyrda
(617) 479-5000
msowyrda@mhtl.com
or
Regina W. Tate
(617) 479-5000
gtate@mhtl.com

What's Happening @ MHTL?

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St Florian & Feeney Named By Board of Bar Overseers

MHTL is pleased to announce that two of its attorneys have been named by the Board of Bar Overseers to serve as Hearing Officers for the 2019-2021 term. Alisia St. Florian is a Partner in the firm’s Education Department. Focusing her practice on the representation of public school districts and collaborative schools in matters pertaining to special education, student discipline and civil rights matters. Matthew Feeney is an Attorney in the firm’s litigation department, having served as an Assistant District Attorney prior to joining the firm. Matt has extensive trial experience with close to 100 jury trials in his career. MHTL is honored to be the only firm having two of its attorneys serving as BBO Hearing Officers for this upcoming term.

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Legal Updates

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U.S. Department of Labor Proposes [Again] Increasing Salary Minimum for Federal Overtime Exemption

As you know from prior Client Alerts, in 2015 the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposed, among other things, increasing the “salary level test” for exempt employees from the current $455 per week (or $23,660/year) to an indexed amount originally proposed at about $970 per week (or $50,440/year).  The DOL also proposed increasing the “highly compensated employee” exemption from the current $100,000 per year to an indexed amount originally proposed at about $123,000 per year.  After those changes were memorialized in a Final Rule, these proposed changes were challenged in court and essentially abandoned by DOL after the 2016 election.

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