Walter | Haverfield is one of the few law firms in Ohio with a designated education law practice group. Our education lawyers in our Cleveland and Columbus offices provide counsel across the entire state.

Our education attorneys provide exceptional, attentive legal services to Ohio public school districts of all sizes with a focus on the following areas:

  • Collective bargaining
  • General counsel services
  • Labor and employment
  • Special education
  • Student issues
  • Sunshine Law and public records

Our education law clients also benefit from the counsel of firm attorneys who practice in the areas of litigation, public law, real estate, intellectual property and environmental law.  In addition, we provide customized, professional development sessions through partnerships with several educational service centers at no charge. Our objective is simple: to make sure our clients have the knowledge they need to effectively manage their workforce and educate their students.



Our team's experience includes:

  • Representation of school districts with respect to the development of legally defensible IEPs and ETRs and all aspects of IDEA procedural compliance.
  • Representation of school districts in due process cases filed with the Ohio Department of Education. These matters involved requests for private placement, allegations of denial of FAPE, and student discipline issues.
  • Representation of school districts in federal court litigation involving alleged violations of constitutional rights and Section 1983 (e.g., bullying, harassment, etc.).
  • Representation of school districts in class action complaint proceedings before the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children.
  • Obtained precedent-setting decision from the Ohio State Employment Relations Board in favor of a board of education when a teachers’ union attempted to prevent the school district from implementing a policy to put into operation the Ohio teacher evaluation system.
  • Defended boards of education using the Ohio Tort Liability Act in multiples causes of action including student-on- student violence and student injuries.
  • Defended board of education in student discipline matter for possession of drugs on school property, including defense of plaintiff’s motions for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
  • Defended school district before the U.S. Supreme Court against a parents’ challenge to their child’s special education program.
  • Defended school district against a coach’s claim of defamation.
  • Representation of school districts in numerous cases involving the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, including issues of disability discrimination, race discrimination, harassment and bullying.
  • Representation of school districts regarding regular education and special education student discipline issues.
  • Representation of school districts in teacher termination/discipline proceedings.
  • Representation of school districts in proceedings regarding discipline/termination of classified employees.
  • Counseled school districts faced with voluminous public record requests.
  • Assisted in development of Section 504 policies for boards of education after statutory revisions.
  • Counseled clients on public records and the Sunshine Law, addressing the privacy concerns of employees and students.
  • Counseled clients on student legal issues, including challenges to board policies, discipline, and First Amendment issues.
  • Advised client how to navigate potential violations of the Establishment Clause and Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Assisted in protecting tens of thousands of public dollars in a contract dispute between a school district and a services vendor.
  • Prevented the loss of tens of thousands of dollars in property tax revenue by protecting school district interests at hearings before the local Board of Revision and Board of Tax Appeals.
  • Attended numerous IEP and ETR meetings on behalf of school districts to provide legal support to teams in contentious situations.
  • Resolved numerous due process complaints in mediation in a cost-effective and expedient manner.


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Our education law attorneys are consistently ranked as top education lawyers in Cleveland, Columbus, across Ohio, and nationwide. At Walter | Haverfield, we pride ourselves on becoming each public school district’s trusted education law attorney group.

  • Best Lawyers® honors the Education Law Group’s lead attorney as “Lawyer of the Year.” This recognition is awarded to individuals with the highest overall peer feedback for a specific practice area and region.
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Education
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Education
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Education
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Education
  • METROPOLITAN TIER 1 (Cleveland): Education

According to U.S. News – Best Lawyers®, firms included in this year’s listing “…are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.” This year’s ratings were based upon a high number of participating firms and a large number of client ballots. More than 13,000 attorneys provided over 1,000,000 law firm evaluations, and over 7500 clients also participated in the evaluation process.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® also explained that, “Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for its abilities, its professionalism, and its integrity.”

2014-2017 RANKINGS:
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland) – Education Law