Public schools must operate in an increasingly complex legal environment replete with constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and judicial legal requirements imposed by the federal, state, and local governments. Local school districts find that they are beset by many of the same legal issues and contentiousness that afflict higher education. In order to cope with these challenges, they increasingly seek legal counsel from both outside and within. In so doing, a new practice area – School Law – has developed and is coalescing and maturing.
Federal and state government regulatory mandates and oversight now reach much more deeply into academic institutions than ever before. Colleges and universities have had to implement extensive compliance programs in response to a barrage of government statutory and regulatory initiatives covering a multitude of areas such as healthcare, fundraising, student loans, foreign students, students with disabilities, and records management. Consequently, campus legal employment options are flourishing.
One of the most overlooked job options for attorneys is the vast number of non-teaching law practice and law-related opportunities on campus. Based on years of logging academic legal hiring data, I can tell you that the number of professional legal and law-related staff positions in academic institutions is growing steadily and is rather recession-proof. This and subsequent Future Interests blogs will dissect these opportunities for you.