Education Law

Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) represent school districts, post-secondary educational institutions, and institutions of higher learning. Our extensive knowledge of the culture, customs, and practices of the educational community allows us to offer solutions that not only comply with the law, but also reflect evolving best practices and informed judgments about legal trends. When necessary, our attorneys defend educational clients before regulatory agencies and in both federal and state courts.

Accreditation

Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. have experience advising and representing educational clients in connection with institutional or programmatic accreditation needs.

Student Affairs

CMDA counsels educators through student disciplinary actions and other issues relating to student behavior and student affairs. Our attorneys provide opinions on written policies about students’ criminal history, grading issues, and issues with student handbooks and policies. We ensure our clients have appropriate due process procedures in place. Further, our attorneys assist clients in revamping admissions procedures to accommodate changes made to student handbooks and student policies and legal requirements.

Disability Law

CMDA assists our educational clients in accommodating students with handicaps and learning disabilities. Based on our involvement with the Department of Education requirements regarding students with disabilities, we assist clients with complying with state and federal regulations regarding the transition of students from secondary to post-secondary education. We are aware of the differences of student planning at the secondary educational level and are cognizant that post-secondary institutions have different requirements. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Independence Act (IDEA), the Michigan Handicapper’s Civil Rights Act, the Mandatory Special Educational Act, and others.

Vocational Education

Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. works with colleges and school districts in developing specific agreements and contracts between institutions to provide opportunities for academic achievements in career and technical education. We counsel our clients in the development of vocational programs and partnership with local businesses and industries for real world educational experience.

Specifically, our attorneys have assisted educational clients with developing programs for health care programs, including an internship program at local hospitals and outreach facilities, as well as a program agreement between a community college and the Michigan Correctional Officers’ Training Council for the development of a training program.

Employment Matters

Our Firm assists educators through a wide variety of legal challenges, including employee discipline and discharge, at-will contracts, satisfaction and just-cause contracts, allegations of discrimination, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests, and reductions in workforce. Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) advise clients through the faculty recruitment process, review of credentials and backgrounds checks of prospective employees, and the hiring process including the development of employee contracts.

Our Firm has experience with all areas of state and federal employment law, such as wage and hour, OSHA and MIOSHA, and unemployment compensation. We have appeared in hearings before the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Bureau of Workers’ Disability Compensation, and the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Wage and Hour Division (MOSHA) on behalf of our clients.

Our attorneys provide consultations regarding employee benefit plans, plan documentation, provide advice as to insurance coverage and health care benefits contracts, premiums and deductibles, third party administrators, and Michigan Public Act 152.

We provide legal opinions with respect to the responsibilities of public entities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and advise clients on the proper methodology for determining whether full-time faculty employees are entitled to benefits required by the ACA and provide opinions on whether the planned method is in agreement with the requirements of the ACA.

Labor Relations, Collective Bargaining Agreements, Grievances, and Arbitration

Our Firm has experience handling negotiations on behalf of our educational clients, relying upon the Firm’s extensive knowledge and experience with the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) and public school employment. Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) advise our educational clients on contract provisions and policies prior to negotiations, as well as providing advice and support at the negotiating table. We have experience in coaching our clients through issues relating to the academic aspects of negotiations as well, including academic planning and programs, creation and operation of departments, responsibilities of department chairs, and the establishment of committees.

Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act

Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) have experience with both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act. CMDA regularly works with College’s Board of Trustees to determine how to operate within the Open Meetings Act requirements. We explain to our educational clients when closed meetings may be held, what information may be discussed during closed meetings, how the minutes from those meetings must be prepared and stored, and when voting has taken place in closed meetings, what a client must do with respect to that Board action.

CMDA has prepared hundreds of responses to FOIA requests for our clients. Our attorneys have knowledge of the explicit requirements of FOIA, including what should be included in FOIA request responses, what must be disclosed, what should be redacted, and what records are exempt from disclosure.

Because of our knowledge in these areas, CMDA offers educational training and seminars to inform and educate clients on the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act, as well as advising clients on how to prevent litigation. We routinely give on-site, complementary seminars and presentations to our clients and have authored handbooks on these topics, such as 2013 Open Meetings Act Handbook.

Intellectual Property Matters

Our Firm handles all aspects of intellectual property law, with emphasis on copyright and trademark law and litigation. Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) have specific experience registering trademarks and copyrights. We perform trademark and copyright audits for our educational clients to ensure another institution’s image is not unintentionally replicated, as well as offering advice regarding the licensing of materials protected by copyright and trademark law.

Real Estate, Land Use, and Facilities Management

CMDA assists our educational clients with the purchase of land, sales of parcels of land, acceptance of donations of land, leasing and construction of facilities, and the construction of new buildings on campus with consideration of the requirements of local, state, and federal laws. We frequently advise these clients on contracts, options to purchase, and on bidding matters. Our attorneys have experience reviewing contracts as part of guiding our clients through the daily operations of an educational institution.

Governance of Higher Education

CMDA works with College Board of Trustees and Administrators regarding the structure and process by which higher education institutions and systems are governed in their day-to-day operations, as well as assisting college officers to develop and implement strategies and policies, and working collaboratively with stakeholders throughout the campus community to support and achieve the college’s goals.

Finance and Taxation

Attorneys at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. have experience assisting in the multitude tax issues colleges face, including: employment tax issues, state sales and use tax, ad valorem property tax, downtown development authorities, charitable donations.

Meet The Team

Sue Bartos Practice Areas
Suzanne Bartos
Sarah Overton Practice Areas
Sarah Overton
Elizabeth Rae O'Donnell Practice Areas
Elizabeth Rae O'Donnell
Patrick Sturdy Practice Areas
Patrick Sturdy