School & Municipal Law
Curran Law Firm's school and municipal law attorneys represent public schools, cities, and special purpose municipal districts in a variety of ways:
Our team represents public school districts throughout the state of Washington. This representation includes full-service general counsel, as well as project-specific representation in the areas of litigation, personnel, student services, special education, real estate, and funding/finance issues.
We take pride in the level of accessible service we provide to our school district clients. Whether that representation is on-site at the school district, in our office, or by computer and telephone, we always provide a high level of accessibility and responsiveness. We recognize that districts and administrators face issues that require quick action. We place great value in our firm's availability and capacity to respond to those immediate-need situations. We believe and act upon the philosophy that questions addressed early on will avoid conflict in the future and be cost-effective for the district in the long term.
We represent school districts in both state and federal courts, before arbitrators and hearing officers, and in all administrative tribunals, including the Public Employment Relations Commission, the Public Disclosure Commission, the Washington Human Rights Commission, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
A large share of our school law practice includes the investigation and analysis of matters leading to discipline of school district employees. We also routinely advise districts in the preparation and implementation of plans for improvement, probationary plans, and the steps incident to non-renewal of certificated employees.
Our attorneys also provide in-service training on legal issues both to specific groups of administrators and staff, and to multi-district audiences. In 2001, Curran Law Firm was chosen by the Washington State School Directors Association as one of two law firms in Washington to provide ongoing training to school boards across the state. Our training sessions involve legal issues running the entire spectrum of questions and laws impacting public school districts. In addition, our school law attorneys frequently lecture to other attorneys and school administrators on educational legal topics surrounding this area of the law.
Cities and Special Purpose Districts
We act as full-service general counsel to such special purpose districts as Drainage Districts 1 and 2 of King County, which are charged with maintaining drainage flows in creeks in the Kent Valley that feed the Green River. We are available for litigation and/or project-specific representation to local cities and have handled project-specific representation of cities in real estate matters, as well as litigation on behalf of cities in eminent domain cases.
We have significant expertise in issues of interest to special purpose districts and cities, such as real estate acquisition and takings, employee relations, contracting, Open Public Meetings issues, and public records issues. As with our school clients, we take pride in the level of accessible service we provide, whether that is on-site, in our office, or by computer and telephone. We place great value in the firm's availability and capacity to respond to rapidly developing situations.
Notable School Law Cases
N.E., et al. v. Seattle Public Schools, 842 F.3d 1093 (9th Cir. 2016)
The School Law Team at Curran Law Firm successfully defended Seattle Public Schools in a special education appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeal addressed a special education student’s educational placement while a complaint brought under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) is processed. Under that law, a student is entitled to remain in their “then-current” educational placement until the litigation is concluded. This is referred to as a student’s “stay-put” placement. The Ninth Circuit ruled in Seattle Public Schools’ favor and agreed with its argument that the placement described in a partially-implemented, multi-stage IEP, as a whole, is a student’s then-current educational placement. The opinion is available here.