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Caplan & Earnest is synonymous with education legal services.

We started working with education clients more than 40 years ago, and over that time, Caplan & Earnest’s Education Law practice group has grown to be the largest in the state.

Our experience and diverse client base allow us to pool information and resources, so that legal services are provided in an efficient and cost-effective manner. In fact, we support more than half the school districts in the state with a wide range of legal counsel and support services, from providing legal opinions on topics such as special education and risk management, to defending school districts in litigation, to even serving as outsourced general counsel.

We have earned a national reputation for our work in the area of education law, and have been involved in several landmark legal decisions that have helped shape public education statewide. We represent both large urban and small rural school districts, boards of cooperative education services and other local education agencies.

If you would like to know more about our Education Law services, please contact:

Melissa Barber

Melissa Barber
Phone: 303-443-8010

We Resolve Issues Quickly

In addition to general school board representation, our attorneys have extensive experience in:

  • School finance
  • Employment law
  • Constitutional law
  • Charter school management
  • Election issues
  • Special education
  • Section 504/ADA compliance
  • Student discipline
  • Real estate acquisitions and construction
  • Risk management
  • School-related litigation
  • Appellate work

Our index of legal opinions that covers hundreds of issues minimizes research time and costs for clients, and our approach to each district is unique, given that we tailor solutions to each client’s goals and priorities.

Keeping School Officials Current

Our attorneys are available for, and frequently provide, in-service trainings for board members, administrators and staff. Recent trainings have addressed:

  • The fundamentals and nuances of school board authority and responsibility
  • Compliance with open meeting/open records laws
  • Investigating allegations of employee misconduct
  • Crisis prevention, response and recovery
  • Use and abuse of social media
  • Student restraint aand seclusion
  • Student discipline, including discipline for students with disabilities
  • Section 504 requirements
  • IDEA basics and high conflict meetings

Value-Added Services

We offer clients our perspective and analysis, with updates on relevant legislative and legal matters. We host roundtable discussions and professional development seminars, including webinars, that help busy school administrators gather relevant legal information efficiently, and we are frequently asked to present at key educational conferences.

Whether you are a district seeking counsel, or in-house counsel seeking support in a specialty area, our team is ready to assist you in your efforts to establish or manage agreements, remain compliant or defend or initiate litigation.

Masterminds Professional Development Series

Special Education and Section 504 Administrators have tremendous influence on the experiences of families, students with disabilities, and fellow educators. Carrying this responsibility well allows you drive meaningful results for your teams and students, and we have the program designed to help you realize your potential, month over month, throughout the entire school year. Join emerging leaders throughout Colorado to increase your productivity, capacity, and connection as part of the Caplan & Earnest Masterminds Program.

  • Learn the weak points in structures and procedures that expose teams to legal disputes
  • Share real-world challenges and concerns
  • Hear and understand different viewpoints
  • Define, refine, and recommit to your priorities
  • Form connections with bright and dedicated leaders just like you

2024 Education Law Lecture Series

Our 2024 lecture series is designed to deepen your knowledge and expand your practical strategies for addressing the challenges facing educators, including:

  • Feb. 14: Manage Threats to School Safety Involving Students with Disabilities
  • March 13: Respond to Student Misconduct
  • April 17: Effectively Hire and Evaluate Employees
  • April 24: Comply with Restraint and Seclusion Requirements
  • May 15: Examine the Anatomy of a School District Contract
  • June 12: Investigate and Effectively Address Employee Misconduct
  • Sept. 11: Understand Child Find Obligations and Other IDEA Basics
  • Sept. 18: Respond to Sexual Abuse in the Schools
  • Sept. 25: Distinguish Types of Employee Leave (FAMLI, HFWA, FMLA, Workers’ Compensation)
  • Oct. 9: Comply with Section 504 Obligations
  • Oct. 16: Evaluate Methods of Building a School
  • Nov. 13: Support Employees with Disabilities

Caplan & Earnest Education Law Grant Program

For more than 50 years, the Education Law practice at Caplan & Earnest has helped clients overcome barriers so they can achieve their goal of providing an excellent education for their students. The Caplan & Earnest Education Law Grant Program is a direct extension of this important work. The Grant Program provides funding to Colorado non-profit organizations that seek to remove barriers for underrepresented post-secondary learners so they have the opportunity to achieve their academic and career goals.

Education Law Attorneys

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