In Hawai‘i, education is constantly evolving with a trend toward private or alternative educational institutions.
For decades our attorneys have helped the individuals who run, govern, and advise educational institutions to address challenges posed by new regulations, the Internet, and other distance-learning technologies, and litigation claims by employees and students.
Our team works with public, private, non-profit, and proprietary institutions and companies to structure transactions, secure resources, develop policies, address legislative initiatives, provide counsel on faculty, staff, and student disciplinary issues, and resolve litigated disputes. Trends in Employment Law and discrimination complaints affect all schools. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated legal guidance for schools seeking to implement health and safety measures.
Whether you are looking to start a new charter school, currently run a private school, or are part of the Hawai‘i public school system, our attorneys bring a broad range of experience in all aspects of educational institutions to help you invest in, operate, grow, and manage this highly regulated and complex environment.
What We Do
- Regulatory Compliance and Accreditation
- Student Discipline and Litigation
- Faculty and Staff Discipline and Employment and Contract Litigation
- Drafting of Student and Faculty Handbooks and Policies
- Drafting of Faculty and Staff Employment Agreements
- Student Privacy Rights
- Trusts and Estates and Planned Giving Issues
- First Amendment and Freedom of Information
- Historical Tort Claims Defense
Members of the Educational Institutions Law practice group have provided, and continue to provide, legal representation to some of the largest independent schools in Hawai‘i. Additionally, Cades Schutte has provided services to the Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools, and its attorneys frequently lecture on school law issues in Hawai‘i.
The group provides legal counsel and litigation support in all areas of private school administration, including employment, tort liability, admissions, discipline, expulsions, discrimination, constitutional rights, tax, privacy, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA).
Members of the group recently played a role in obtaining amendments to the Hawai‘i Charter Schools statutory scheme, which will now allow private schools and entities to obtain charters for existing public schools. Members have also represented a major 501(c)(3) entity in negotiations with the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service to retain the school’s tax exempt status. Our Trusts & Estates team has also worked with the Hawaii State Teachers Association as a partner in its first NEA Attorney Referral Program, providing advice on estate planning to its members.
- Pro bono representation of the Education Institute of Hawaii (EIH) in a complete victory, in which the Circuit Court awarded our client nearly $100,000.00 in attorney’s fees and costs against the state Department of Education, which had wrongfully refused, for several years, to provide financial records in response to EIH’s open-records request.