PRACTICE AREAS

Education & Special Education

Today’s educational institutions face a range of complex legal issues at least as broad as those faced by highly-regulated industries. Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP has one of the most extensive education law practices in New England. The firm represents over 80 school committees, public school districts, colleges and universities and private schools. Its diverse school clientele ranges from large cities and towns to smaller communities and educational collaboratives. The firm’s attorneys have the expertise, experience and resources to service all of their legal needs, including collective bargaining, special education, arbitrations, litigation and the full range of current legal issues, including student rights and discipline, service contracts, discrimination, the impact of Education Reform, and all statutory issues.

A significant part of the Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP education law practice is in the field of special education. In this area, the firm has counseled over 200 school committees on the adequacy of programs under Chapter 766 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It has represented clients in hearings and litigation arising under these and other statutes.

The firm has concentrated in education law for more than 25 years, and can provide first-rate, comprehensive legal services efficiently and cost-effectively. The firm emphasizes a preventive maintenance approach, based upon our strong belief that proper legal advice prevents problems before they occur. The firm devotes a considerable part of our practice to assisting our clients in anticipating problems and avoiding costly disputes and litigation through client training and communication.

The firm’s experience in the field of education enables us to provide our clients with a broad range of services in such operation and legal matters as:

  • All facets of labor and employment including hiring, tenure, discipline, termination and collective bargaining.
  • Issues pertaining to the powers and duties of administrators and school committees, and matters of governance.
  • Interrelationships among the school, municipal, state and federal government relative to a number of issues including school finance.
  • All facets of special education and education of persons with disabilities including section 504 and the ADA.
  • Training and staff development.
  • Evaluation of staff.
  • Accreditation processes.
  • Constitutional questions covering all curricular and disciplinary topics such as student rights, academic freedom, church/state dilemmas and due process.
  • Plant operation functions such as procurement, construction, facilities development and contract negotiations with service providers.
  • Representation in agency, court and appellate litigation.

Contact us today if you have questions about Education & Special Education

ST. FLORIAN ALISIA

Alisia St. Florian

Partner

(617) 479-5000 astflorian@mhtl.com

Ms. St. Florian is a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP, and is a member of the firm’s Special Education Law Group.  Ms. St. Florian represents school districts in all aspects of special education litigation, from administrative hearings at the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) through to all levels of judicial appeal.  In addition, Ms. St. Florian frequently presents workshops on issues regarding special education, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, state and federal student record Read More

BRESNAHAN, KEVIN

Kevin F. Bresnahan

Partner

(617) 479-5000 kbresnahan@mhtl.com

Mr. Bresnahan practices in the areas of labor and employment, education, and municipal law. Mr. Bresnahan has negotiated collective bargaining agreements on behalf of numerous municipalities and school committees, and has represented public employers before the courts of the Commonwealth, in arbitrations, and in a wide variety of administrative proceedings before various agencies, including the Division of Labor Relations, the Civil Service Commission, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and the Joint Labor-Management Committee.  He advises public employers in various aspects of employment law, Read More

MACCARO, MIKE

Michael J. Maccaro

Partner

(617) 479-5000 mmaccaro@mhtl.com

Mr. Maccaro’s practice is focused on the areas of labor and employment in the public and private sector, litigation, and employee benefits. Following law school, Mr. Maccaro served as a Law Clerk to the Justices of the Superior Court for two years. Prior to joining Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane LLP, Mr. Maccaro served as Associate General Counsel for a large public sector labor union.  He has litigated numerous matters, negotiated hundreds of contracts and has argued before various state courts, appellate courts, and Read More

SOWYRDA, MARY ELLEN

Mary Ellen Sowyrda

Partner

(617) 479-5000 msowyrda@mhtl.com

Ms. Sowyrda is a partner at the firm and heads the Special Education Department within Murphy, Hesse, Toomey and Lehane, LLP, which currently represents approximately 160 school districts and educational collaboratives in the field of Special Education Law.  She is involved in all aspects of litigation including hearings, mediations, pre-hearing conferences with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals and court cases. She provides clients with daily advice on school-related legal issues and deals with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Read More

SPATAFORE, SARAH

Sarah C. Spatafore

Partner

(617) 479-5000 sspatafore@mhtl.com

Ms. Spatafore is a partner with the firm. She practices primarily in the labor and employment area, representing both public and private clients.  Ms. Spatafore also handles education issues.  Ms. Spatafore has represented clients before a number of courts and administrative tribunals at both the state and federal level. Ms. Spatafore regularly advises clients on a variety of issues related to labor and employment, represents clients on issues related to collective bargaining, grievances, and arbitrations, and has conducted numerous workplace Read More

Regina Tate 5x7 wk

Regina Williams Tate

Partner

(617) 479-5000 gtate@mhtl.com

Ms. Tate has been practicing law since 1978. She practices primarily in the areas of labor and education law. Her practice in the area of education covers the spectrum of issues related to education including student discipline, special education, Education Reform, due process rights of teachers and other school employees, and other employment matters, academic freedom and civil rights. She also participates in the collective bargaining process on behalf of her education clients. She has served as counsel to over 60 school committees and private schools, providing Read More

FSVweb

Felicia S. Vasudevan

Attorney

(617) 479-5000 fvasudevan@mhtl.com

Ms. Vasudevan is an attorney in the firm’s Education Law and Special Education Law Groups, working in regular and special education issues. Ms. Vasudevan represents school districts in all aspects of special education litigation, from administrative hearings at the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) through to all levels of judicial appeal.  She represents school districts in matters of student discipline, civil rights issues, collective bargaining, public procurement, and employment issues.  She presents workshops on issues such as conducting investigations, evaluations, Read More

Waugh, Andy

Andrew J. Waugh

Partner

(617) 479-5000 awaugh@mhtl.com

General counsel to a number of towns and school committees, Mr. Waugh’s practice focuses on education and municipal law, with an emphasis labor and employment matters. Mr. Waugh works with and advises employers on various employment matters including hiring, discipline and termination issues, drafting severance agreements, FMLA and ADA issues, and compliance with other state and federal discrimination and/or civil rights laws. Mr. Waugh has extensive experience negotiating and drafting collective bargaining agreements, and he defends employers in grievance arbitrations and unfair labor practice charges Read More

Sow, Vineesha final

Vineesha S. Sow

Associate

(617) 479-5000 vsow@mhtl.com

Ms. Sow is an attorney in the firm’s Education Law and Special Education Law Groups, working in regular and special education issues.  Prior to coming to Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, she held positions, representing indigent clients in special education matters, and providing mental health advocacy to children with complex mental health needs. Ms. Sow also provided several trainings on special education and school discipline to communities throughout Massachusetts. She has given lectures at Harvard Law School and Boston College Law School Read More

Latest News

Three Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane Partners Accredited as New England’s 2020 Super Lawyers

  Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane LLP., would like to congratulate Katherine Hesse, Regina Williams Tate and Mary Ellen Sowyrda for being recognized as New England’s 2020 Super Lawyers. Katherine Hesse is a partner at the firm and was acknowledged for her proficiency in Employment and Labor law. Regina Williams Tate and Mary Ellen Sowyrda are also partners at the firm and were recognized for their expertise in Schools and Education law. It is no surprise to the firm that Read More

Legal Updates

Governor Baker Issues Three New COVID-19 Orders

On Monday, November 2, 2020, Governor Baker issued three new COVID-19 Orders, all of which are effective Friday, November 6, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. COVID-19 Order No. 53 (https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-order-53/download) imposes a Mandatory Night-Time Closing Period for Certain Businesses and Activities from 9:30 p.m. each day until 5:00 a.m. the following day. This Mandatory Closing Period Order prohibits certain businesses, facilities, and activities from admitting customers, patrons, or members of the public to their premises or otherwise offering, providing, or permitting in-person, on-premises services or activities, during the closed period.

Quincy, MA

Crown Colony Plaza
300 Crown Colony Drive, Suite 410
P.O. Box 9126
Quincy, MA 02169-9126

Boston, MA

75-101 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110

Tel: (617) 479-5000
Tel: (888) 841-4850
Fax: (617) 479-6469

Springfield, MA

One Monarch Place, Suite 1310R
Springfield, MA 01144

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