School Law: COVID-19, First Amendment, and Non-Discrimination (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 12/31/2021


A pre-recorded streaming audio replay of the November 2020 webcast, School Law: COVID-19, First Amendment, and Non-Discrimination.

Topics Covered

  • Understand the legal challenges schools face during the pandemic in regard to students and employees in virtually all aspects of educational operations
  • Learn what is and what is not protected speech under the First Amendment in public and private schools; understand individual and administration rights relating to this protected speech
  • Hear what changed and why after 45 years in the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 regulations; most importantly, consider the far-reaching impact of these new changes
  • Know what protected categories are now covered by Virginia’s amended non-discrimination laws
  • Ask questions of practitioners representing Virginia schools, both large and small, public and private

This seminar breaks down the hot topics in education today so lawyers will be better equipped to advise their school, college, and university clients. Seminar participants should come away with a better understanding of trends and current thinking that may shape education law in the near future.

This school year has begun in the middle of a pandemic. Some schools practice distance-learning, others operate in person, and still others use a hybrid model. Almost every level of government has passed new laws and regulations affecting public and private schools, colleges, and universities. Everyone involved is processing and adjusting. In the meantime, the nation is experiencing a social justice revolution. George Floyd and Confederate symbol protests have both divided communities and brought them together. Educators and students are speaking their minds—in person, in print, and online—with some of that speech subject to legal protection. In the area of non-discrimination, 2020 saw the first major change to the federal Title IX regulations in over four decades, and Virginia implemented a progressive expansion of its own non-discrimination laws.

As the pandemic continues and society’s new norms spill over into every facet of education, precedent is changing as fast as lawyers can read. At this seminar, you will hear how attorneys handle legal issues in both public and private school settings. You will pick up effective tactics in advising schools, colleges, and universities. And you will gain valuable perspective on these contemporary legal challenges.

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Douglas R. Burtch, Burtch Law PLLC / Richmond
Douglas Burtch is owner and principal of Burtch Law PLLC in Richmond. He represents independent schools, businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, executives, and professionals. He is rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, is listed in the “Best Lawyers in America” by U.S. News & World Report, and is named a “Virginia Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazineand a “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business magazine, all in employment and labor law categories. He is an author and speaker on issues affecting schools and the workplace. Mr. Burtch graduated from Emory University (GA) and the University of Richmond School of Law (cum laude).

Nicole S.  Cheuk, Sands Anderson PC / Richmond
Nikki Cheuk is an attorney with Sands Anderson PC. She offers comprehensive guidance to public school boards in all areas of representation, including special education, student discipline, personnel issues, policy, and procurement. Her experience working with a wide variety of school boards enables her to bring diverse perspectives and understandings on their unique legal needs and goals. As such, she can help guide education clients efficiently through a myriad of ever-varying issues. In addition, Ms. Cheuk works with local governments on personnel matters, and with condemnors on matters of eminent domain.

John M. Erbach, Spotts Fain, PC / Richmond
John Erbach is an attorney with Spotts Fain in Richmond. His practice focuses on employment litigation, commercial litigation, and business litigation with added emphasis on practice in federal courts. As an additional part of his practice, he regularly counsels businesses on employment compliance matters, employment policies, and employee handbooks. Mr. Erbach has litigated cases in state and federal court, including taking multiple cases to successful verdicts in a variety of business litigation matters. He previously practiced in the litigation section of Williams Mullen and clerked for U.S. Magistrate Judges Dennis W. Dohnal and David J. Novak, as well as U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. In 2015, Mr. Erbach was elected to represent the Dale District of Chesterfield County, Virginia, on the county’s School Board, serving as the Board’s vice chairman and then chairman in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Sarah D. Johns, VCU Office of University Counsel / Richmond
Sarah Johns is Associate University Counsel and Assistant Attorney General for Virginia Commonwealth University. She has presented and written on legal issues, such as free expression on and near campus and accessibility and accommodation for individuals with disabilities. Previously, she practiced higher education, health care, and life sciences law at Ropes & Gray LLP; served as law clerk to U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz; and taught French, Latin, Pilates, and field hockey at St. Anne’s-Belfield School. Ms. Johns graduated from the University of Virginia, New York University in Paris, and University of Virginia School of Law.

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