While not as complete as the Bender treatise, Schneider’s treatise does cover most of what a school law attorney would need on a regular basis. Her six chapters are titled; Religion Issues and Public Education, Freedom of Expression Issues and Public Education, Due Process Issues and Public Education, Gender Issues and Public Education, Race Issues and Public Education, and Educating Students with Disabilities.
One of the things I really like about the Schneider treatise is the checklist for 1983 claims. I am currently taking a class on 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions and it is a very complex federal statute. 1983 claims have flooded the courts with litigation because it allows individuals to bring forth claims for constitutional violations. Since constitutional violations are a large part of education law, § 1983 becomes important for school law attorneys. The treatise provides an eight step checklist for how to bring a 1983 claim. It is very practical and includes what type of trial you can expect based on what remedy you ask for Further, it includes notes on attorney’s fees, immunities, potential relief you can seek and why, and other steps necessary for a successful claim.
It is likely because there is far less material in the Schneider treatise, but I find it easier to use and navigate around compared to the Bender treatise. Schneider’s treatise is simple; with fewer categories to choose from you can often find the subject matter you are looking for faster. However, the downside is that there is less information, so when you do reach the end road in the Schneider treatise there is less information. Bender’s treatise takes longer to navigate around because there is so much stuff. While it takes longer to find exactly what you are looking for, there are more options and more information available.
The Schneider treatise does not provide any history or background to the public education system, or go in-depth on funding and some of the other core elements of historic political issues within the education system. Depending on your practice and preference, some may see this lack of information as a plus because it is one less thing they have to sort through. As discussed above, I believe the information Bender provides is very valuable, especially to somebody that may not have an education law background. Sure we all went through the education system, but for those that went to a private school, or those that have simply been out of touch with the news and education political topics, the background information Bender provides is an asset.
Just like the Bender treatise, the Schneider treatise, provides an array of forms like separation agreements for teachers, settlement agreements, and others, that would be helpful to school law attorneys.
You can buy a physical copy of the treatise for only $270. It is updated annually, so if you have a Westlaw subscription it might be more beneficial to just access it online. Even though this treatise is much cheaper than the Bender treatise, I still believe the Bender treatise is a sound investment. Bender’s treatise is the gold standard, and the wealth of information it provides makes the price differential worth it.