We provide legal counsel and advice in multiple areas that include School Law, Litigation, Labor Relations & Collective Bargaining, Students’ Rights & Special Education, Employment Discrimination, Student Records, Employee Discipline, Finance & Elections, Construction Law, Boundary Disputes & Proceedings, Annexation & Detachment and Municipal Law.
Because of the number of school district clients represented by the Firm, our attorneys’ experience is necessarily broad. We provide legal counsel and advice in all areas of school law including the following areas: labor negotiations; contract administration; client representation relative to unfair labor practice charges, including interest and grievance arbitrations; employment discrimination defense; alien employees; state and federal school law litigation; school finance; school construction contracts and architects’ contract review; teacher discipline and dismissal proceedings; student discipline proceedings; student residency; defense of tax objections; property assessment proceedings; school personal injury; unemployment compensation; workers’ compensation defense; school election matters; and school desegregation matters. We regularly consult with clients and are asked to present in-service presentations relative to practical educational issues including: improving minority student achievement within school integration and equity audit procedures; site-based management; sexual harassment; acceptable use of technology, on-campus/off-campus; accommodation of disabled employees; teacher evaluation and remediation; and advising school administrators relative to various employment and tax issues involved in individual employment agreements.
The Firm’s litigation experience is vast. From administrative tribunals to the Supreme Court, we represent and defend our clients in a wide variety of legal challenges requiring judicial resolution. Our clients use our services in federal and State courts and in proceedings before federal agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, and before State agencies such as the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Human Rights Commission, the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Illinois Department of Labor and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. We regularly represent our school district clients in special education due process hearings and tenured teacher dismissal hearings before the Illinois State Board of Education. We provide counsel in student suspension/expulsion proceedings and issues involving students’ rights, including student expression and other constitutional issues, for example, searches.
Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations
Our attorneys have unparalleled experience in the area of collective bargaining, having bargained with professional employees, educational support personnel, bus drivers, and custodians in school districts and in special education and vocational education cooperatives, as well as with county governments and municipalities. Our many years of practice have afforded us a wide range of experiences in different bargaining models and styles. As a Firm that represents management in labor relations, it is our philosophy that bargaining objectives and strategies should be driven by the need to preserve and maximize management flexibility and to achieve outcomes which are consistent with goals and objectives set by the Board of Education, the Superintendent and the administrative team. We work with the client to determine the tone, style and substance to be brought to negotiation sessions with the relevant employee groups.
The Firm’s attorneys are well versed in municipal law. Our attorneys have served as village attorneys, corporation counsel and special counsel for numerous Chicagoland municipalities handling a variety of issues. The Firm is active in the Illinois Municipal League, the Local Government Section of the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association Committee on Local Government.
No Cost Services Provided
Our Firm provides a number of free services to its clients, including publications, in-services, and client seminars.
The Firm’s publications include (for more detail, please visit our “News and Publications” Web page):
- · eBlackboard - Periodic memorandum informing clients of relevant changes in the law.
- · Election Law Manual - an annual publication apprising clients of laws related to school board member and referenda elections.
- · Newsletter - a quarterly newsletter offering comments on topics in school law.
The Firm also offers annual seminars which all clients are invited to attend, free of charge. The seminars are intended to address areas of particular interest to board members and administrators.
The Firm offers five free hours of in-service training annually. The training may be divided between administrators and board members and is available on numerous topics.
We understand that each client has specific goals and objectives. We will help you examine every available option, so that you can make informed decisions. Your legal needs are our priority; accordingly, we promptly respond to your inquiries and questions. We advocate preventative law over crisis management and we pride ourselves on our ability to provide the legal services that you need, when you need them, with the highest degree of professionalism.
Our Firm recognizes that school districts have very specialized needs. Therefore, all of our attorneys make a consistent effort to keep abreast of both the educational and legal issues facing our school district clients. Our attorneys regularly present before school board associations, school administrators, teacher organizations and related professional groups, including the National Organization on Legal Problems in Education, the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Desegregation Committee, the National School Boards Association, the Association of School Business Officials, the National Council of School Attorneys, the American Education Research Association-Special Interest Group on School Law, the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, the Illinois Council of School Attorneys, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Institute on Continuing Legal Education.
Members of the Firm also participate as speakers at continuing legal education seminars for practicing school attorneys. Additionally, several members of our Firm teach graduate level courses in educational law and conduct seminars on school law. Various members of the Firm have authored publications on education and school law issues, including chapters for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the “Law Ed” presentations of the Illinois State Bar Association on School Law and other prominent legal publications.
As your legal counsel, we help you examine every available option so that you can be fully informed decision makers. When you select Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd. as your legal counsel, you are assured of a high level of services, attention and advice.
We serve you in the same way we would like to be represented.
We make it a priority to promptly answer your inquiries and to respond to urgent matters in such a way that you are assured of our commitment to serving your legal needs. Our clients also receive timely updates on key issues and changes in the law, plus the opportunity to attend complimentary seminars.