Education Legal Counsel

Website Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has posted a position for Education Legal Counsel (240005S4). We’re seeking a lawyer who has excellent legal and interpersonal skills and 3 or more years of successful experience practicing law. This position will focus primarily on legal work relating to special education and other programs and services for students with disabilities. If you know of lawyers who might be interested in joining our legal team, please encourage them to apply soon – preferably by Wednesday, June 12.

The Legal Office of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) advises the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Commissioner, and DESE staff on issues of education law, policy, and administration; works with the Attorney General’s Office on litigation; oversees the Office of Professional Practices Investigations; and provides information to school officials, parents and students, and other constituents on the state and federal laws affecting public elementary and secondary schools, vocational-technical education, and adult basic education programs. The Legal Office works together with all policy units to implement DESE’s Educational Vision  https://www.doe.mass.edu/commissioner/vision/ .

The Counsel II, Education Legal Counsel position involves administrative law practice including legal research and writing; negotiation; public speaking and training; drafting regulations, legislation, and advisory opinions; preparing for and conducting administrative adjudicatory hearings; drafting and reviewing contracts and interagency agreements; and collaborating with the Attorney General’s Office on litigation. This position focuses particularly on legal work relating to special education and other programs and services for students with disabilities.

The Counsel II reports to the Deputy General Counsel and works closely with other colleagues in the Legal Office. The Counsel II interacts with educators and policymakers throughout DESE.

The selected candidate will perform the following duties:

Provide legal advice to DESE administrators and staff on state and federal laws governing elementary, secondary, vocational-technical, and adult basic education programs, with a particular focus on special education and other programs and services for students with disabilities;

Analyze legal requirements relating to special education and other regulated programs and provide legal counsel to DESE’s offices of Special Education Planning and Policy, Problem Resolution Services, Special Education in Institutional Settings, Approved Special Education Schools, and Public School Monitoring;

Assist DESE in carrying out its public information responsibilities with careful attention to the agency’s legal duties concerning public records, records retention, and data privacy;

Analyze and interpret laws and policies fundamental to education in the Commonwealth, including the Education Reform Act, Student Opportunity Act, Every Student Succeeds Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and state and federal laws concerning homeless students, students in foster care, and English learners;

Draft, review, analyze, and interpret documents including legislation, regulations, contracts, interagency agreements, and advisory opinions;

Prepare written and oral information, legal memoranda, and advisory opinions for DESE administrators and staff and local school officials concerning their duties under state and federal laws;

Communicate and coordinate as needed with officials of other state and federal agencies, school and district leaders, parents, advocacy organizations, and other constituents regarding education laws and policies;

Represent DESE in interagency meetings and negotiations;

Prepare materials and provide training to DESE staff and school officials on new legal developments;

Participate in formulating recommendations for the Commissioner regarding policies, legislation, and regulatory changes;

Represent DESE in administrative adjudicatory proceedings, including at the Bureau of Special Education Appeals; and

Perform other duties as assigned by the General Counsel or Deputy General Counsel, or the Commissioner.

Based on assignment, travel may be required.

Please include a cover letter and resume with your online submission.

Questions regarding this posting or the application process should be referred to Maureen O’Brien at maureen.t.o’brien@mass.gov or 781-338-6107.

Preferred Qualifications

The qualified candidate will possess:

  • three (3) or more years of experience practicing law or in a position requiring membership in the Bar;
  • excellent analytical, legal research, and writing skills;
  • successful experience in the practice of law, including experience with some or all of the following: state and federal special education law; other laws affecting educational programs and services; administrative adjudicatory hearings or litigation; negotiation;
  • strong interpersonal skills, including ability to establish rapport, motivate, and maintain positive and productive relationships with colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds;
  • ability to understand, apply, and explain the laws, rules, regulations, policies, standards, and guidelines governing education programs;
  • ability to process and assimilate detailed factual information presented orally or in writing;
  • ability to exercise sound judgment;
  • excellent communication skills, orally and in writing, including ability to write and present clear, appropriately detailed memoranda and documentation as required;
  • ability to strategize and work with others to solve problems;
  • ability to handle matters with mature judgment and discretion;
  • strong organizational skills, including ability to manage complex tasks and meet deadlines;
  • ability to work with confidential information and maintain the highest level of confidentiality;
  • ability to effectively manage a varied caseload while balancing multiple and competing priorities;
  • knowledge of state and federal education laws and the culture, organization and structures of public schools and districts; and
  • strong computer skills and fluency with Microsoft Word and Excel.

Qualifications
First consideration will be given to those applicants that apply within the first 14 days.

MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS:  Applicants must have a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, admission to the Massachusetts Bar and (A) at least three years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional experience in the practice of law.

Incumbents may be required to have a current and valid Motor Vehicle Drivers License at a Class level specific to assignment.

Comprehensive Benefits

When you embark on a career with the Commonwealth, you are offered an outstanding suite of employee benefits that add to the overall value of your compensation package. We take pride in providing a work experience that supports you, your loved ones, and your future.

Want the specifics? Explore our Employee Benefits and Rewards!

An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer.  Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Commonwealth is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law.  Research suggests that qualified women, Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) may self-select out of opportunities if they don’t meet 100% of the job requirements.  We encourage individuals who believe they have the skills necessary to thrive to apply for this role.

Official Title: Counsel II
Primary Location: United States-Massachusetts-Everett – 135 Santili Highway
Job: Legal Services
Agency: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Schedule: Full-time
Shift: Day
Job Posting: May 29, 2024, 9:59:56 AM
Number of Openings: 1
Salary: 84,243.38 – 122,903.04 Yearly
If you have Diversity, Affirmative Action or Equal Employment Opportunity questions or need a Reasonable Accommodation, please contact Diversity Officer / ADA Coordinator: Ferdousi Faruque – 7813386108
Bargaining Unit: 06-NAGE – Professional Admin.
Confidential: No
Potentially Eligible for a Hybrid Work Schedule: Yes

To apply for this job please visit massanf.taleo.net.