COSA spring school law seminar graphic header with dates and logo

Legal practice is fluid. And nothing has required school lawyers to adapt their practice more than the ongoing pandemic. The COSA 2022 Spring School Law Seminar, the first in-person school law seminar in more than a year, will provide school lawyers with timely, valuable resources to make the best decisions for their districts. Join your colleagues in sunny San Diego!


  • Thursday, March 31

    Early Bird Session 1 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

    What Does Sex Mean Now?! The Rights of Transgender Students in the School Context
    This presentation analyzes trends in the most recent caselaw, reviews executive branch guidance, and discusses current and pending state legislation related to the rights of transgender students. We will discuss practical approaches to help schools navigate these sometimes-choppy waters, including examples of how schools have successfully addressed privacy concerns.

    Presenters: Michelle Basi and Mandi Moutray, Tueth Keeney Cooper Mohan & Jackstadt, P.C., St. Louis, MO

    Defending Demands for Residential Placements
    Session description coming soon!

    Presenters: Lenore Silverman, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost LLP; Jennifer Nix, School and College Legal Services; Sterling Elmore, Oakland Unified School District, Dee Anna Hassanpour, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, LLP; and Dr. Vanessa Hughes, Breaking Code Silence

    Early Bird Session 2 | 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

    Title IX: The Thorniest Issues and How to Resolve Them

    Experienced K-12 Title IX attorneys will help you through some of the most difficult issues now arising under the statute’s complex (and soon to change?) sexual harassment regulations. The speakers will address issues such as jurisdictional determinations at intake, consolidation of cases, best practices for informal resolution, making tough relevancy judgment calls, issuing discipline and more.

    Presenters: Kate Davis and Katy Osborn, Bricker & Eckler LLP, Columbus, OH

    Pandemic Problems: Struggling with Student Mental Health
    Students are facing more mental health challenges and increased risks for self-harm or suicide than ever before. Schools and their attorneys must be prepared to address these issues, including increased services through IEPs and Section 504 plans, and suicide prevention plans. The presenters will provide attendees with the legal framework in which student mental health concerns can be addressed, and practical tools to help your clients do so.

    Presenters: Carl Beard and Jennifer Dambeck, Beard Legal Group P.C., Altoona, PA

    Opening General Session | 4 – 5:30 p.m.

    Session details coming soon!

    Presenter: Jim Walsh, Walsh Gallegos Trevino Kyle & Robinson P.C., Austin, TX

  • Friday, April 1

    General Session 1 | 8 – 9 a.m. 

    The Parent’s Role in Directing the Education of Their Children in K-12 Public Schools
    As parents’ bills of rights are being raised and discussed in states and school districts throughout the country, school boards need legal counsel on the extent and characteristics of those rights. Attorneys from the Oregon School Boards Association will describe how federal constitutional rights interact with state education codes on issues like parent requests to inspect instructional materials, or to opt out of curriculum. The presenters will review recently proposed federal legislation and examples of state specific laws from around the nation. The speakers also will discuss practical approaches to including parents in the education of their children. Speaker Spencer Lewis, a former classroom teacher in Utah, will share his unique perspective from the classroom.

    Presenters: Spencer Lewis and Haley Percell, Oregon School Boards Association

    General Session 2 | 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. 

    Schools and the Culture Wars: Discrimination, Free Speech, and Discipline
    The nation’s public schools often serve as a front line in current culture wars. When advising on polarizing topics, school attorneys must be able to guide their clients through a veritable thicket of Free Speech standards that are constantly changing and, at times, seemingly conflicting. When is an employee or student's speech protected, and when is it discrimination? What is the line between microaggressions and hate speech? What steps can school teams take to prevent conflicts between individual rights and free speech? How can a school district minimize damage if it finds itself at the center of a dispute involving speech? Join us for a fast-paced discussion of these and other questions, with examples ripped from the headlines.

    Presenters: Jackie Wernz and Leila Gary, Thompson & Horton LLP, Dallas, TX

    General Session 3 | 11 a.m. – Noon 

    Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Ethical Pointers and Pitfalls in a Post-COVID World
    The stress and disorientation of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted many of us to reassess our attitude toward the day-to-day practice of law while, at the same time, bringing more sharply into focus the basic ethical precepts that have always guided the profession. This session will cover the latest developments from the American Bar Association, courts, and ethics committees across the country and recommend strategies for spotting and avoiding mistakes that can imperil your livelihood.

    Presenter: David Rubin, David B. Rubin, P.C., Metuchen, NJ

    Concurrent Session 1 | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. 

    Labor & Employment – Details coming soon!

    Presenters: Holly Ortiz and Mary Gray, Semple, Farrington, Everall & Case, P.C., Denver, CO

    The Role of the School Attorney — From the Superintendent's Perspective
    A veteran superintendent and the school board attorney will share unique insights into their 10+ year professional relationship, going back to the very day that the superintendent was hired, along with strategies for navigating crises with the board and community. Be prepared for an enlightening, humorous, and engaging session!

    Presenters: Darcy Kriha, Kriha Boucek, Oakbrook Terrace, IL; and Dr. Kathy Hinz, Superintendent of Schools, Crystal Lake School District 47, IL

    Concurrent Session 2 | 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. 

    Labor & Employment  – Details coming soon!

    Presenter: Joel Aziere, Buelow Vetter Buikema Olson & Vliet, LLC, Waukesha, WI

    Legal and Practical Strategies for Managing Public Comment in Public School Board Meetings
    The speakers will focus on practical strategies, briefly highlighting common state law requirements to accommodate and manage public participation in school board meetings. The presentation will include hypothetical legal questions and other forms of audience participation in identifying recommendations for superintendents and school boards.

    Presenters: Christine Self, Tueth Keeney, Edwardsville, IL; Margaret Chidester and Steven Chidester, Law Offices of Margaret A. Chidester & Associates, Irvine, CA

  • Saturday, April 2

    General Session 1 | 8 – 9 a.m. 

    NSBA Legal Advocacy Update
    In this popular session, NSBA Chief Legal Officer Francisco Negrón updates you on significant Supreme Court cases affecting public schools and NSBA’s amicus and other legal advocacy work nationwide.

    Presenter: Francisco Negrón, Chief Legal Officer, NSBA

    General Session 2 | 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. 

    Staff Political Speech in Polarizing Times
    The topic will focus on recent precedent, and practical considerations, for analyzing free speech in these challenging times.

    Presenter: Howard Miller, Bond, Schoeneck & King, Garden City, NY

    General Session 3 | 11 a.m. – Noon 

    Counseling School Districts in the Shadow of School Shootings
    All school districts face the terrible possibility of a school shooting, a risk that creates understandable fear. For a few districts, this fear has been a reality. This panel brings together experienced school attorneys to share wisdom gained after such tragic events, including Columbine and Newtown. The panel will provide legal and practical guidance for all school attorneys focused on helping prevent and respond to violence.

    Moderator: Joy Baskin, Texas Association of School Boards
    Presenters: Patrice McCarthy, Connecticut Association of Boards of Education; S. Anthony Safi, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxon & Galatzan, PC, El Paso, TX; and Stuart Stuller, Caplan and Earnest, LLC, Boulder, CO

Registration Fees

State Association Counsel  Complimentary 
In-House Counsel $765
COSA Members $830
Add-on Coffee Mug $16

Add this special mug with a display of U.S Supreme Court cases impacting the work of public school attorneys to your order. Pick it up onsite at registration.

Image of a mug with U.S. Supreme Court cases listed in different colors.