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School Representation & Education Law

We have the most experienced school representation team in Utah.

Fabian VanCott’s attorneys have a long history of representing public school districts, charter schools, and private schools. Fabian VanCott is the pre-eminent education law firm in the State of Utah. We provide timely, cost-effective legal counsel, and work as partners to build a relationship of trust and confidence with our clients.

Fabian VanCott’s experience and depth is unique in Utah. Our firm’s attorneys have represented Utah school districts for over forty-five years. We value and appreciate the significant contribution of time and energy made by board members, administrators, teachers, and staffto ensure that our children are prepared for the future. Our goal is to provide sound legal advice as cost-effectively as possible in furtherance of the core mission of our education clients.

The following is a sample of the broad range of topics we regularly help our clients navigate:

Employment Matters. We provide almost daily advice on employee discipline, terminations, and reductions in force. We provide advice on all applicable federal laws and regulations regarding employment including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and various anti-discrimination statutes. We regularly defend districts in orderly termination proceedings and grievance hearings. We provide advice regarding employment policies, contracts and negotiations. We also regularly address legal issues related to hiring, licensing, transfers, workers compensation, severance agreements, retirement, indemnification of district employees, and every aspect of the employment relationship. Our employment work for school districts has included the successful defense of wrongful termination, discrimination, and breach of contract claims in both state and federal court. We also regularly represent districts in District-level administrative grievance hearings, investigations, and proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Utah Antidiscrimination and Labor Division of the Utah Labor Commission. When desired, we coordinate with attorneys from the Utah Attorney General’s office.

Student Matters. We regularly provide advice regarding student discipline, student records, custody issues, residency and guardianship matters, safe schools and bullying, student searches and every other legal matter related to student rights and responsibilities. We have represented districts in OCR investigations, Title IX matters, and student sexual harassment investigations. We draft and review notices and policies related to federal and state statutes and regulations. We have represented districts in suspension and expulsion proceedings. We have also represented districts in federal court on matters including student First Amendment rights and the Equal Access Act.

Special Education and Section 504. We have a great deal of expertise in special education law and the legal issues surrounding the education of children with disabilities. We have successfully defended school districts in numerous “due process” proceedings filed pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). We have also successfully defended districts in federal court in appeals of those proceedings. We regularly assist districts with resolving complaints during the mandatory pre-hearing dispute resolution process. We also help districts comply with state and federal laws regarding accessibility, accommodations, medical plans, and the provision of medications and medical services to students. We have helped districts respond to OCR complaints and investigations regarding disabled students.

Bond Transactions. We assist districts with documents and agreements related to capital project financing including general obligation bonds and municipal building authorities. We work with districts and their bond counsel to ensure bonds are issued in accordance with all applicable statutory requirements and all necessary closing documents are executed in a timely manner.

Board of Education Action and Policies. We regularly assist school districts with the review of current policies to make sure they adequately protect the district and comply with changes in the law. We also assist with the adoption of new policies to comply with new statutes and regulations. We work in a collaborative manner to meet the district’s needs to minimize legal expense while at the same time to ensure compliance with the law and school board desires. We regularly provide training regarding school board compliance with open meeting requirements, public record requirements and all aspects of board operations, governance and authority. We also monitor legislative and regulatory developments that may affect district policies.

Real Estate. In addition to transactions between willing buyers and sellers, we have represented school districts in condemnation proceedings to acquire necessary parcels of land. In our work on behalf of school districts, as well as other entities entitled to exercise the right of eminent domain, Fabian VanCott’s attorneys have assisted with numerous condemnations. We have also represented districts in many lease transactions, including transactions where districts have been the landlord and transactions where the district has been the tenant. We regularly represent districts in complying with local land use regulations and fees where required, and in asserting the district’s exemption from such regulations and fees where appropriate. Our work for districts in this area has included (1) boundary disputes; (2) easement issues; (3) trespass matters; (4) the creation and exercise of options to purchase; and (5) lease to buy and lease/sell transactions, among others.

By addressing issues as soon as they arise, our clients avoid decisions and actions that might lead to costly legal disputes. Because of our years of expertise, institutional knowledge, and on-going efforts to ensure we stay up-to-date on recent developments, we are able to provide prompt answers to most of the day-to-day questions that arise, without having to conduct costly research.

Should a dispute arise, we have an experienced team of attorneys capable of litigating virtually any case, small or large, and regardless of whether it involves a “general” education law issue or another more specialized areas such as special education, employment, or real property. Furthermore, as a full-service law firm, if a matter arises that is tangential to, or even outside the a core education law issue, it is likely that we have sufficient additional expertise to effectively meet our clients’ needs. For example, in the past, our education clients have benefited from representation by Fabian attorneys who specialize in particular fields such as construction law, bankruptcy, tax and employee benefits, environmental issues, water law, and copyright and intellectual property. Fabian VanCott has the ability to meet the district’s legal needs regardless of the area of law that might be at issue.

Meet our team of school representation attorneys below.