McGeorge School of Law

Pathways | Education

A gavel sitting on a law book, decorative image

Education law consists of statutes and regulations governing school systems and protecting the rights of students, faculty and staff members. Education law deals with access to quality education at all levels of public and private school and university, and special education institutions. Whether this field is on the federal, state or local level, education law encompasses a broad range of legal issues in educational areas including:

  • Student Safety and Violence Prevention Regulations
  • Student, Faculty and Staff Rights
  • Diversity and Inclusion Standards
  • Fiscal Management Implementation
  • Federal and State Labor and Employment Laws
  • School Health and Community Development
  • School Responsibility and Accountability Assessment
  • Educational Change and Policy Reform

Education lawyers work with educational policymakers, administrators, practitioners and researchers to navigate an ever-changing and increasingly complex educational policy environment. They may also represent students or faculty suffering discrimination or unfair treatment by educational institutions, such as Title IX or Title VI violations. As such, it is imperative that students pursuing this career path are empathetic and able to also work closely with students, teachers, administrators, and parents.

McGeorge School of Law prepares leaders and scholars to address key educational issues and reform. Students who pursue professions in education law find opportunities in the federal government and state agencies, private public interest firms, school districts and university institutions, and special education development or educational rights advocacy organizations. Other non-traditional career paths include educational entrepreneurship, charter school organization leadership, or educational service management.


Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning │ Clinics
  • Legislative and Public Policy Clinic (853)
  • Administrative Adjudication Clinic (820)

Experiential Learning │ Externships

  • Semester in Practice (961)
  • Special Externship (957)

Skills

Education lawyers work with diverse people and interests. They must be passionate about making a difference in the lives of children. Below is a list of skills that education law attorneys possess:

  • Strong interpersonal communication skills
  • A commitment to public interest
  • Teamwork
  • Research
  • Writing

Co-Curricular

Engaging in activities that demonstrate an interest in children, education, or public interest will demonstrate your commitment to working in an area of law centered on improving education and access to it. Here is a list of suggested activities:

  • Research education law for a professor
  • Join an education or public interest club on campus
  • Law Review
  • Judicial clerkship or externship
  • Serve as a summer associate in a firm with an education department, at an education-based nonprofit, or in a government education office

Practice Settings & Clients

Where do education attorneys work?

Education attorneys work in a variety of practice settings. These include:

  • Non-profit organizations. These organizations represent individuals and also address legislative and policy reform.
  • Government offices. Roles and issues vary among federal, state, and local education offices. Attorneys in federal positions focus more on drafting statutes and regulations and investigation, while state and local level education attorneys help with more technical issues in addition to addressing legislation and policy.
  • Private law firms. Both small private firms and larger firms with education departments represent individuals and school districts.
Who are their clients?
  • Individual students and parents
  • Community groups
  • School districts
  • Individual schools
  • Colleges and universities/li>

Professional Resources

Learning about and remaining informed on issues facing the education community will help you develop strategies and ideas to further the important public interest of bettering education.

Good resources to consult include:

  • American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law
  • National School Boards Association
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • Education Law Association