What is Education Law?
Updated: Sep 2, 2018
Generally, conversations about my career go a little something like this...
Them: "What do you do for a living?"
Me: "I am a lawyer."
T: "What type of law do you practice?"
M: "Education Law."
T: "What is that?"
M: Attempts to sum up what I do with the majority of my days in the few minutes that I have their attention.
You are here. You may have questions. Specifically, you may be thinking "what exactly is education law?"
Education law includes both state and federal laws that cover educational institutions (i.e. elementary and secondary schools, charter schools, colleges, and universities), the students and teachers in those institutions, school districts and Boards of Education. The United States Department of Education provides a large portion of funding for the public school system. State and local education agencies and/or counties are responsible for providing the remainder of the funds. Moreover, states and local education agencies are responsible maintaining the public schools and operating them in compliance with federal law. The subject areas covered by the broad practice area of Education Law can range from the right to a free and appropriate education ("FAPE") and Individualized Education Programs ("IEPs"), to discrimination, bullying, and school safety. Education lawyers work for non-profit agencies (e.g. Legal Aid of North Carolina), government agencies (e.g. the United States Department of Education) and private law firms. Education lawyers may represent school boards, or parents.