School Building Projects

Our attorneys counsel and represent public and private schools and colleges on legal issues related to school policies, labor and employment law, discrimination, student rights, school construction and project financing. We provide ongoing advice to our clients regarding federal and Massachusetts laws that affect educational administration, and we assist school administrators in effectively delivering educational services in an increasingly demanding legal environment.

Public schools are both educational institutions and employers that are subject to a myriad of state and federal laws and regulation. We take a team approach to advising and representing the firm's educational clients, which allows us to counsel them in both of these roles. We counsel schools in the complexities of disciplining students, drafting student handbooks and interpreting the Education Reform Act. We advise and represent educational institutions on student rights issues, including reviewing and revising student codes of conduct, drafting policies under the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, and providing advice on students' participation in athletic and other extracurricular activities.

We also represent and advise our public and private educational clients in labor and employment issues, including personnel issues, collective bargaining, grievance arbitration, unfair labor practices and the negotiation of employment agreements with school administrators.

In addition, we represent educational clients in governmental investigations and defend against charges before state and federal administrative agencies, including the Massachusetts and federal departments of education, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as before state and federal courts.

Massachusetts legal requirements related to public school construction, innovation and repair are complex and frequently amended. Our attorneys advise public school clients on projects ranging in scope from new school design and construction to general purchasing matters.

Practice Chair

Brian R. Falk

Brian R. Falk
Of Counsel

Todd K. Helwig

Todd K. Helwig
Partner

Open Meeting Law: Remote Participation & Proposed Definition of "Knowing" Violations

December 20, 2011[ read full story ]

Important Update – The Impact of Coronavirus on the Construction Industry

Since our post on March 18, a lot has happened from both a health and regulatory standpoint as far as the impact from the outbreak of COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) on local and state construction practice.  Here is an update, as of …

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The Impact of Coronavirus on the Construction Industry

The outbreak of COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) has impacted all industries, including construction.  First and foremost, we are in the midst of a public health crisis, and the safety and well-being of all project participants should be top of mind.  We are …

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Executive Order Loosens Open Meeting Law Requirements During Coronavirus Emergency

Governor Baker signed an Executive Order relieving government boards and committees from compliance with certain Open Meeting Law requirements during the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The Order gives public bodies greater leeway to hold closed-door and remote meetings, so that government agencies …

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SJC Reverses Appeals Court on Standing Requirements Under the Zoning Act – With Record Speed

All zoning conformities are alike, to rephrase Tolstoy’s famous opening line, but each zoning-related injury is injurious in its own way. Such has been the time-honored tenant of Massachusetts law for abutter standing under the Zoning Act.  To successfully challenge …

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PFAS Concerns Mounting for Cities and Towns as MassDEP Proposes Maximum Contaminant Level in Drinking Water

Many of our readers will be aware that on December 27, 2019, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) proposed a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for PFAS in drinking water of 20 parts per trillion (0.02 ug/L or ppt) for six PFAS …

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Building the Boroughs: A Year in Review

In 2019, Mirick O’Connell’s permitting attorneys were proud to help our clients, large and small, with local approvals in Marlborough for 6 great projects. Thank you to our clients and the City of Marlborough for a wonderful year! Click here …

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Building on Lands Formerly Used as Railroad Right-of-Ways- An Amendment That May Simplify the Permitting Process

For the last forty-five (45) years, obtaining a permit to build any type of structure on any former railroad right-of-way in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been far from seamless. Massachusetts General Law c.40 §54A, enacted by the legislature in …

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MassDEP Working on a Drinking Water MCL for PFAS

Several weeks ago, I posted that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) proposed a new groundwater standard for PFAS contamination under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan regulations (310 CMR 40.0000).  Public comment on the proposed regulations remains open through July …

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Appearance of Bias Not Enough to Invalidate Appraisal – Unless the Contract Says Otherwise

When parties enter a contract involving an appraised value of real estate, they need eventual finality with respect to that appraised value, but they also want fairness in the appraisal process. In Buffalo-Water 1, LLC v. Fidelity Real Estate Company, …

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BREAKING: MassDEP Announces Proposed Revisions to the Massachusetts Contingency Plan, Including a Reportable Concentration for PFAS at 20 ppt

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced proposed revisions to the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (310 CMR 40.0000).  This begins a 3-month public comment period that will end July 19, 2019, and will include four public hearings. According to MassDEP, …

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EPA Issues Interpretive Statement: Groundwater Discharges are Not Subject to the Clean Water Act

In a not-so-stunning development, the EPA on Monday issued an Interpretive Statement putting to rest speculation on EPA’s position as to whether groundwater discharges are subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The answer:  “No.”  EPA’s 57-page …

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Third Party Beneficiary Rights in Construction Contracts

Last week the United States District Court in Massachusetts issued an important decision concerning third party beneficiary rights in construction contracts.  In Arco Ingenieros, S.A. de C.V. v. CDM International Inc., Civil Action No. 18-12348-PBS, a design-builder incurred damages due …

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