We frequently interact with other businesses and professionals who serve school districts.
On August 31, 2020, Miller Johnson acquired Lusk Albertson PLC.
Miller Johnson has a long history of providing counsel to public and private school districts, and adding Kevin Sutton, Bob Schindler, Anya Lusk, Adam Walker, Bill Albertson, and Bob Lusk only enhances our knowledge base and expands our ability to solve your everyday needs.
We are very pleased to welcome the school districts throughout our state that rely on the expertise of these fine attorneys and staff and look forward to continuing to serve as your legal counsel.
As Lusk Albertson stated, “There are very few true Education Law specialists.”
We collectively are.
An Education Law specialist is the Board’s General Counsel and principal legal advisor to the Board of Education and its administrators and employees. We believe that exceptional Education Law specialists consistently demonstrate a unique set of qualities:
- Detailed knowledge of the myriad of federal and Michigan laws that directly apply to education
- Deep understanding of the federal and Michigan laws that do not directly apply to education, but affect the daily operation of educational institutions (e.g., labor and employment law, civil rights law, contract and business law)
- Uncompromising honesty and ethics
- A keen desire to help students learn
- An understanding of the common culture of educational institutions
- Sensitivity for and to personalities and political issues
- A highly developed ability to communicate clearly, verbally and in writing
- The experience to know whether the client is best served by directly attacking or finessing an issue
- The talent, boldness and determination necessary to prevail in necessary or unavoidable legal disputes
We are passionate about education. Each Miller Johnson attorney chose this field, just like our clients did, to support and foster future generations. We earned our reputation for delivering responsive, efficient and effective Education Law expertise. We are particularly interested in working with those educational institutions that expect the most from their employees and students.
We provide legal solutions so teachers and students can learn.
Our Education Industry Group offers public and private school clients a diverse range of legal skills and expertise on the complexities of Education Law, procedure, and policy.
We have experience in the following specific areas of interest to school clients:
- School code
- Bylaws and policies
- Student rights and discipline
- Title IX
- Labor and employment relations (including collective bargaining, contract negotiations, and employee discipline) – We advise our clients in the area of collective bargaining negotiations on an ongoing basis. This includes the content of proposals, strategies, mediation, fact finding and implementation. If requested, we are prepared to act as the chief spokesperson for the board of education.
- Contract Administration – We provide our clients with contract administration services in the following areas: analysis of grievances filed by unions; preparation of responses to grievances and representation at grievance arbitration hearings.
- Grievance Arbitration – We are extremely active within the area of labor arbitration and have developed an excellent working relationship with the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”). William G. Albertson currently sits upon the Advisory Council of the Detroit Region AAA. We also have an excellent professional rapport with the local core group of labor arbitrators and have thorough insight regarding their reputations and predilections.
- Special education and Section 504
- School elections and financing issues
- Teachers’ Tenure Act – We regularly advise our clients in meeting their obligations under the Teachers’ Tenure Act. We typically become involved early in the process of determining whether a professional staff member should be continued in employment and offer guidance throughout the process. We draft all required documents for the school district. Where matters proceed to a request for a hearing, we have negotiated settlements in many matters and handled more than one hundred cases before the State Tenure Commission.
- Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act
- Civil rights – We frequently provide representation to our clients in matters brought before the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (“MDCR”) the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the federal Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). We also have an active practice in state and federal courts defending our clients regarding discrimination claims.
- Privacy rights and constitutional issues
- Contracts – In representing our education clients, our attorneys have drafted and negotiated contracts covering a wide range of subjects, including real estate transactions, construction-related contracts (including contracts with architects, construction managers and general contractors), and more general agreements. We have been actively involved in all aspects of the privatization of services, including the development of Requests for Proposals (“RFPs”) and other related documents and working with our clients throughout the process.
- Real Estate. We have significant experience representing our clients in the acquisition and sale of real property. These activities include early advice on appraisal processes and deed restrictions, drafting all necessary documents and providing necessary assistance through closing.
- General Business Matters. Our attorneys also provide guidance regarding general business matters that affect both private sector businesses and public entities, as well as matters unique to the public sector such as the Uniform Budgeting Act, the Truth in Taxation Act, the School Aid Act and the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution.
- Environmental concerns
- Employee Benefits – cafeteria plans and executive compensation
- MERC Proceedings – We have represented many school district clients in proceedings before the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (“MERC”), including some of the leading cases decided by the agency. Our attorneys read all decisions issued by the MERC and regularly make presentations to professional groups regarding the law developing under the Public Employment Relations Act (“PERA”).
- Disability law affects all aspects of any educational institution, from access to facilities and services to instruction and learning. The major federal and Michigan disability laws – the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and Michigan’s Persons with Disabilities Act – are detailed, prescriptive and sometimes counter-intuitive. We have special expertise and experience with assisting educational institutions successfully comply with applicable disability law and defend against all types of disability claims from parents, employees and students.
- Other State and Federal Agency Representation – Our attorneys regularly represent clients before state and federal agencies regarding wage and hour claims, overtime disputes, work safety matters and unemployment compensation appeals.
The mission of the Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators is to advocate on behalf of the personnel and/or human resource function, work to enhance member professional growth, actively support diversification of the workforce, serve as a resource agency, and promote the highest standard of personal and professional conduct and professional ethics to ensure quality instruction and service to Michigan students.
Michigan Negotiators Association (MNA)
MNA is a non-profit association for professional school negotiators and contract administrators. Membership in MNA helps individuals network and share information, obtain education, training and support, and develop management skills in negotiations and contract administration.
The Metro Bureau seeks to support its member districts and provide accurate data for negotiations and district operations. It does this by sharing information, resources and ideas in seeking solutions to common problems of school districts.
MAASE is a statewide professional educational organization affiliated with the National Council of Administrators of Special Education and the Council for Exceptional Children. MAASE members are dedicated to the enhancement of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of each individual in society. Those who receive special education services are individuals who possess basic rights and responsibilities, and who command respect at all times. Special education embraces the right to a free appropriate public education. The Mission of MAASE is to provide leadership for the development and implementation of quality programs and services for students with disabilities within the total education community.
The Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) is a 1,700-member strong organization representing the state’s high school, career technical education, middle level and assistant principals. First established in 1911, MASSP has spent the past 100 years working to promote excellence in school leadership and advocate for education system improvements. Simply put, it’s mission is to advance learning through educational leadership.
Winning Futures is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, goal setting, mentoring, and scholarship program for teens. More than 20,000 students have been impacted and $1.6M has been awarded in scholarships since 1994. The organization’s evidence-based life skills curriculum has been implemented into schools and agencies in 35 states. More than 90 percent of Winning Futures’ students continue their education past high school. Locally, Winning Futures implements mentoring programs into schools that service students from Birmingham, Detroit, Harper Woods, Pontiac, Sterling Heights, and Warren.