education

Education Law

Conrad O’Brien represents and advises charter schools, public schools, early education providers, Archdiocesan schools, private schools, education management organizations, and higher education institutions. Conrad O’Brien works closely with our clients to ensure efficient, effective, and compliant school operations.

 

Conrad O’Brien also represents and advises technology companies on regulatory compliance issues relating to sales to educational institutions.

Educational Institutions

Conrad O’Brien advises school administrators and school boards regarding a variety of issues, including:

 

  • State school code and administrative code compliance
  • Advocacy to state and federal regulators on policy issues
  • Special education compliance and litigation
  • Student discipline
  • Operations (including drafting operational policies, manuals, and handbooks)
  • Federal legal issues (ESSA/ESEA, IDEA, Section 504, USDOE regulations, Office of Civil Right investigations, anti-discrimination and constitutional issues)
  • Training for school administrators, school boards, teachers, and staff
  • Acts as solicitor for charter school boards
  • Planning and oversight of internal audits and investigations
  • Contract, commercial, and employment litigation

 

Conrad O’Brien advises and represents charter schools (both brick-and-mortar and cyber) from the application drafting process through startup and ongoing operations, including renewal/non-renewal, charter revocation, as well as representation before the Charter School Appeal Board.  

 

Notable Cases:

 

  • Successfully represented Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School against the School District of Philadelphia and School Reform Commission that the School District did not have the power to impose unilateral enrollment caps on charter schools or deny funding where enrollment caps are exceeded. 
  • Represented KIPP Philadelphia Charter Schools and Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School in a win that provided $600,000 in funds to the charter schools.
  • Representing Chester Community Charter School, Conrad O’Brien achieved court decisions that were instrumental in prohibiting the unilateral imposition of enrollment caps on all charter schools in Pennsylvania.
  • Represented the Chester Community Charter School in a nine-figure statutory funding dispute.

Risk Management and E-rate Compliance

Conrad O’Brien advises education management organizations, education vendors, and consultants on a broad range of compliance and litigation risks, often in connection with pending litigation involving our clients or related parties.  Areas we cover include:

 

  • Risk analysis arising from company operations, including the nature and structure of contracts, and interaction with school employees and trustees who are considered public officials under various state and federal laws
  • Recommendations for areas for compliance and best practices training
  • Creation and ongoing updating of ethics and compliance programs
  • State Attorney General audits of financial activities and contractual relationships
  • Federal Office of Inspector General audits
  • Special education and IDEA audits and disputes, and state and federal court litigation regarding those audits
  • State Department of Education and school district audits of operations and procedures

 

 

Conrad O’Brien represents technology service providers and consultants in litigation and compliance work relating to the sale of products and services to K–12 educational institutions under the federal E-rate program (Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism). Conrad O’Brien can help companies establish or enhance their compliance programs by assessing company sales and marketing practices, developing policies and procedures, training employees and third parties, and planning and overseeing internal audits and reviews.