What Does an Education Lawyer Do?
An education lawyer often works for non-profit organizations, the government, or private public interest firms and may specialize in the following areas:
- Student safety and discipline
- Civil rights
- Education reform
- School governance (such as employment or student records)
- Special education
For instance, an education lawyer can represent you if you want to contest a school rule or regulation. Your lawyer can file petitions or support you in court.
When Do I Need an Education Lawyer?
If you're a parent, some common instances in which an education lawyer may be necessary include:
- Your school is refusing to accommodate your special needs child
- Your child was discriminated against by a staff member
- Your school is trying to expel your child
- Your child was suspended unjustly
- You want to change a rule/regulation
If you have a question or concern about your school board, administration, or staff, an education lawyer can talk you through any next steps and represent you in court if you decide that's the best course of action.
How Much Does an Education Lawyer Cost?
Not every lawyer bills in the same way, but many education lawyers charge an hourly rate. If you're suing for damages, your lawyer may choose to charge on a contingency basis. This means that there aren't up-front charges, but your lawyer will take a percentage if you win your case.
How much you have to pay will depend on how much experience your lawyer has, how complicated your case is, and where you live. Be sure to negotiate a rate up front with your attorney.
What Should I Expect from Working with an Educational Lawyer?
Adding, removing, or changing a school regulation typically requires the support from other people in your school district. Your lawyer may then negotiate with the school board or represent you in court if needed. There's a good chance your change will be approved--so long as you can prove it's necessary and you have community support. The process will likely be long.
Repealing a suspension or expulsion is often settled out of court. You will probably need to prove that your child's suspension or expulsion was completely unreasonable, otherwise it will stay valid.
If suing for damages, the school will probably want to settle out of court, but if the school is in the wrong, you'll receive retribution.
Your outcome will depend on your specific case. An education lawyer is the most qualified to advise you on the timeline and potential outcomes of your particular case.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.