Areas of Practice
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. has extensive experience in the representation of clients in all aspects of school law. In contrast to other law firms, school law is not just a “sideline” business or one of many practice areas for our firm. Instead, our attorneys focus almost exclusively on school law representing public school districts and charter schools across Massachusetts. Our firm has attorneys with over eighty years of combined experience and other resources necessary to provide school districts with quality and effective legal representation, and our concentration on public school law results in substantial cost savings for our clients. Our work with public schools includes:
- Special education
- Student discipline and student rights
- Discriminatory Harassment (race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sexual, religion, and transgender rights)
- Constitutional law issues, including teacher and student First Amendment Rights
- School governance policies for both public schools
- Freedom of information and student records
- Defense of claims in state and federal court and before administrative agencies
- Section 504 and ADA claims
- Policy Analysis
- Limited English Proficiency
Additionally, our attorneys are often asked to conduct presentations at workshops sponsored by state, regional and national associations.
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. has extensive experience advising and representing clients in all aspects of Section 504. Our attorneys have experience representing clients in Section 504 matters in federal court, before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, and before the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Because our practice is exclusively dedicated to school law, our firm is sensitive to the evolving legal obligations required under Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to our extensive experience advising and litigation matters under Section 504, one of our attorneys formerly served as an enforcement attorney for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights and another one of our attorney, formerly adjudicated claims under Section 504 as a Bureau of Special Education Appeals Hearing Officer. Our firm has also developed a Section 504 Manual for our clients that provides them assistance in implementing this vague and complicated area of law.
School bullying and school violence laws are rapidly changing. As our clients address the complexities of compliance with both bullying and civil rights complaints, our attorneys provide assistance from the initial report of bullying through the completion of the investigation. Our firm routinely advises our clients on how to conduct comprehensive investigations that help ensure the safety and rights of all their students. Our attorneys’ expertise in this area is evidenced by the statewide, regional conferences that our attorneys are consistently requested to train and educate both lawyers and school staff on both bullying and harassment.
State and federal special education laws create a complex combination of legal responsibilities for school districts. Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. has a vast amount of experience navigating state and federal special education laws, advising school districts on the delivery of special education services to students with disabilities and representing schools in special education disputes. Because our practice is exclusively dedicated to school law, our firm is sensitive to the evolving legal obligations required by state and federal law.
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. attorneys have over eighty years of experience in federal and state special education law and have the capability to handle the most complex cases. Our firm provides extensive advice and counsel to clients on all aspects of special education and disability law, including such issues as accommodations, auxiliary services, autism, IEPs, student discipline, manifestation determinations, transition planning, graduation, athletics, compensatory education, student records, least restrictive environment, out-of-district and residential placements, transportation and settlement agreements. In addition, our firm regularly represents clients in due process hearings, IEP Team meetings, mediation, and before the state department of education. Our extensive knowledge of the culture and practice of the special education community enables us to advise clients on both legal compliance as well as best practices so that our clients can make informed judgments on how to best service their students.
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. provides advice and counsel to school districts on a regular basis on student issues such as student discipline, free speech rights, bullying/harassment, student records, religion in schools, Title IX, graduation, student records, searches, drug testing, athletic eligibility, child protection laws, serving homeless students and other related matters. In addition, our attorneys draft and review student handbooks, student codes of conduct, and district policies and procedures relative to these issues.
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. offers our clients legal representation, consultation and technical assistance in all matters related to student discipline. Our attorneys have represented school districts in discipline related matters for our eighty years. Since our practice is exclusively dedicated to school law, our firm is sensitive to the evolving legal and due process obligations required by state and federal law. Because many disciplinary matters also present issues related to special education and Section 504, our experience and special education specialization situates us to advise our clients to address the complex issues presented in special education disciplinary matters. Our specialized experience in disciplinary matters includes:
- Expulsion hearings
- Suspension hearings
- Discipline of students under Section 504 and the IDEA
- Disciplinary Hearings
- Sexual and Civil Rights Harassment
- Charges of criminal activity including drug and alcohol possession and possession of weapons
- Issues related to searches of students, lockers or personal items
- Discipline of off-campus conduct
Massachusetts law gives schools the authority to discipline students, but also affords students the right to procedural due process. Our attorneys provide hands-on guidance in order to assist our clients in implementing these procedures, including assistance with the development of policies and training for staff to ensure effective, procedurally sound and impartial disciplinary procedures which ensure that disciplinary decisions will not be overturned on appeal.
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. attorneys have developed, revised and reviewed numerous school district and school committee policies. Our firm provides research, technical assistance, and policy development to ensure legal compliance and address the unique needs of each of our clients. Our firm provides a custom-designed approach to policy review and development so that the policies fit the needs, size and mission of the school districts we represent. Because our practice is exclusively dedicated to school law, our firm is sensitive to the evolving legal obligations required by state and federal law as well as our clients’ responsibility to respond to the needs of their school communities. Our firm strives to develop policies that combine legally defensible policies with the practical realities our clients face.
Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Based on Civil Rights
Nuttall, MacAvoy & Joyce, P.C. provides school districts representation on civil rights matters at all levels of state and federal government forums, including the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Bureau of Special Education Appeals and all levels of state and federal courts including the United States Supreme Court. Our expertise includes the representation of clients in matters related allegations of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, and gender identity. Our firm assists clients in both legal defense as well as conducting investigations into alleged student on student harassment based on civil rights. Because our staff includes a former enforcement attorney from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, our firm is uniquely situated to provide assistance and representation in all civil rights matters, including different treatment, harassment, Title IX athletics, and the provision of services to language minority students.