Schools Districts Call Their In House Counsels Almost Daily

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 31, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Would you ever consider going in house for a school district?

In stark contrast to the traditional model of hiring attorneys on a retainer basis, some of the larger school districts across the country are hiring full-time counsel--people they call almost daily while school is in session.

Though some are criticizing the trend and wonder whether it saves districts money, with the growth in school litigation, school districts could become the next big in house employer.

What's interesting about a public school setting is that counsel can often have a larger range of duties than those in large companies.

As a quasi-business and government entity with unique restrictions and duties, district counsel must become a generalist. They will often deal with contracts, employment law, student discipline, education law, torts, constitutional law, and administrative law.

And contrary to what the Missouri School Boards Association told the News-Leader, going in house for a school district can allow an attorney to practice both transactional law and litigation.

School counsel may also spend a significant amount of time fielding inquiries from the administration, as one study found a correlation between counsel's presence and an increase in access to, and use of, legal information in the decision-making process.

Whether the variety and daily interactions are a good thing is up to you, but going in house for a school district could be an interesting change of pace for those of you seeking something different and more varied for the next stage of your career.

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