Education Law

Siegel O'Connor has one of the largest education law practices in Connecticut.  The Firm provides clients with assistance in all aspects of public sector legal problems, including contract negotiations, employee terminations, litigation, grievance arbitration, interest (collective bargaining agreement) arbitration, prohibited practice charges, special education, transportation hearings and student disciplinary matters.

School boards and educators throughout Connecticut recognize our Firm and its attorneys as leaders in educating the educators about school law issues.  Our attorneys regularly participate in seminars throughout the state and also conduct in-service programs for administrators, teachers, non-certified staff and board members on all areas of school law.  In order to keep administrative personnel throughout Connecticut updated as to developments in the law, our Firm publishes a quarterly school law newsletter.  To ensure that our clients have the most up to date information at all times, the Firm publishes client alerts on an as needed basis. 

Our Firm’s education law practice covers all aspects of special education, including providing advice on all aspects of eligibility and programming for special education services.  Our attorneys regularly represent clients in PPT meetings and handle due process proceedings on both the hearing and appeal levels.  The Firm regularly defends compliance complaints filed with the Connecticut State Department of Education.  Our attorneys are well versed in Connecticut’s special education laws, as well as the renewal provisions of the IDEA as signed into law in December 2004.

Our attorneys regularly advise boards of education concerning their rights and obligations concerning employee discipline and termination, for both certified and non-certified staff.  We regularly counsel our clients on the intricacies of the Teacher Tenure Law and the significant distinctions between the non-renewal process versus teacher termination issues.  Our attorneys are experienced in handling all aspects of employee dismissal issues, from the board level, to administrative proceedings and through litigation.  Our attorneys further offer broad experience in addressing employee as well as student discrimination suits.

Our public sector clients further benefit from the array of additional services offered by our Firm.  All of the Firm’s practice areas are dedicated to assisting our education clients.  We take pride in delivering quality legal services, paying particularly close attention to the individual needs of each client and understanding that no two districts are identical.


Influencing Precedent

A review of the annotations of most of the principal education statutes in Connecticut reveals summaries of important legal decisions involving our Firm.  We have been involved with a number of key decisions under the teacher tenure law that helped to define and limit the rights of employees to bring legal actions against their employing boards of education.  For example, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit's decision in Simard v. Groton Board of Education, the Connecticut Supreme Court's decision in Joanou v. East Lyme Board of Education, and the Connecticut Superior Court's decision in Cipu v. North Haven Board of Education are often cited as important judicial limitations on the rights of teachers to seek legal damages and other redress against their employing boards of education.

The Connecticut Superior Court's decision in Butler v. Wethersfield Board of Education is frequently cited by Connecticut practitioners in support of the view that non-tenured teachers cannot pursue constitutionally based suits for damages against boards of education.

Our Firm's involvement in cases such as Board of Trustees of the Woodstock Academy v. Freedom of Information and East Lyme Board of Education v. Freedom of Information Commission served to set the established standards for application of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act and professional evaluation statutes.


Siegel O'Connor focuses on the following areas of education law:

    • Collective Bargaining
    • Employment Discrimination
    • Employee Benefits
    • Employee Discipline
    • Federal and State Court Defense Litigation
    • FERPA
    • FOIA
    • General School Administration Counseling
    • Grievance Arbitration
    • Interest Arbitration
    • Residency
    • Special Education
    • State Board of Labor Relations Proceedings
    • Student Discipline
    • Student Discrimination
    • Teacher Non-renewals/Terminations
    • Transportation

             Please contact Bud O'Donnell at 860-727-8900.