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Education Law Treatise by Matthew Bender (Lexis)
Education Law by
This treatise provides the most detailed and comprehensive report on the education law field. One of the best things about this treatise is that it has useful information for all types of cases and clients. This treatise addresses both state and federal law. While there is more emphasis on federal law, I see this as a benefit because a large part of student complaints relate to the United States Constitution and federal statutes. If a state statute is a relevant part of a legal problem, this guide has a table that allows you to easily find what you are looking for. It has tables of statutes for students, employment, curriculum, and institutional. Having statutes organized by categories like these is very helpful when you already know what type of legal issue you have.
In addition to providing legal resources on a variety of issues, this treatise provides forms. The availability of standard forms that can be easily adjusted to meet individual cases is not thought of enough in law school. For new attorneys having sample forms available is a vital asset, especially when approaching a deadline or in a situation where a response must be given quickly. The forms provided are more practical than legal, but for non litigation heavy attorneys they are very helpful.
While it may not come into play very often, this treatise also provides a nice background on the education system. This includes the history and development of education in the United States, funding the public school system and the challenges that have arisen, and finally, teaching methods and lesson panning. Having sufficient background information allows attorneys to stay in touch with teachers and other actors in the public school system. In addition to connecting with clients, knowing background information can help attorneys predict where the law will be down the road. It also helps learn the acronyms and terminology that seems never ending.
In general, this treatise does a good job of reinforcing the importance of record keeping. Often times when a person, like a student or teacher, realizes there is a problem with the school administration, the school is two steps ahead in recording what is taking place. Teachers and students often times have difficulty winning claims because they simply lack the necessary evidence. When speaking with a client the record keeping process needs to begin right away, because often times the legal problem occurred weeks, or even months prior, and information gathering becomes more difficult with each passing day.
This treatise is renewed roughly twice a year. You can purchase an older version of the treatise if you are looking to save money. For example, the 2010 version is $1,088, compared to the current issue at $1,554. In addition to buying an older version, having a subscription to Lexis may make the treatise easier to obtain at a lower price, depending on your plan. This is why I suggest, as you will see latter on, that an attorney in this field purchase Lexis instead of Westlaw or another online service.
Education Law: First Amendment, Due Process, Discrimination Litigation by Schneider (Westlaw)
Education law: First Amendment, Due Process, Discrimination Litigation by
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.
Special Education and the Law: A Guide for Practitioners by Allan Osborne
Special Education and the Law: A Guide for Practitioners by Allan Osborne
Special Education is increasingly becoming an important topic within the education law field. More students are being diagnosed with ADHD, autism, and other disorders that require special treatment in schools. With increased awareness of special education needs comes increased regulation. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Rehabilitation Act are just some of the many federal statutes that impact the public school system and the attorneys involved. As teachers and school administration are attempting to remain compliant with these new and ever evolving laws, more questions and problems arise for the attorneys that represent them. This treatise provides answers for school teachers, other school personnel, and their attorneys, on how to act under the many Special Education laws we have.
There are two things I really like about this treatise. First, it lays sufficient background on the topic and the rights of parties involved. Like I have said previously in order to fully understand where the law is, and where it is going, you must understand where the law came from. This treatise provides background on the special education field, and the right all students have to a free appropriate public education. Many of the ideas we take for granted today were not always there, such as tailoring lesson plans and curriculum to individuals with special needs. Second, this is a cheap resource, that is short and to the point.
The Osborne treatise on Special Education and the Law is 304 pages. Another popular resource for Special Education law was written by Latham. Latham’s Special Education Law treatise is cheaper and also helpful, but only has 192 pages. While page numbers are not an all-telling story, when looking through the treatises it is clear the Osborne treatise is more comprehensive. If one is to put resources into a treatise solely on education law, you want to make sure it is as complete as possible. The Osborne treatise can be purchased on amazon for $32.