NJSBA participates as amicus curiae in cases likely to set a precedent and to have a significant statewide impact upon the operation of the State's educational system. Amicus curiae is a Latin term meaning "friend of the court". An amicus curiae brief is one filed by someone who is not a party to the litigation, but who believes that the resulting decision may affect its interest .
Contact us to learn more about NJSBA’s amicus curiae participation.
Every day of the week, one staff attorney sets aside all other projects and devotes the day to providing legal information to callers. Legal staff welcomes phone calls from board members and member charter school board trustees, school administrators, and board counsel.
Staff attorneys produce books, periodic publications, outlines, Q & A’s and articles, on a broad range of legal topics that affect school district operations. Many of these articles and informational documents are posted on the Legal Department webpage. In addition, staff attorneys are frequent contributors to NJSBA’s general publications, including School Leader and School Board Notes. They also review articles and publications of other departments to assure legal accuracy.
Among the most widely-used publications of the Legal Department is Basic School Law, a comprehensive book on all aspects of school law, and part of NJSBA’s School Law Library series. This book is updated every year.
The staff attorneys also author the Focus On series, providing an in-depth view of issues such as: public contracts and procurement (2004); the selection and use of the school board attorney; the Open Public Meetings Act; withholding increments; and tenure dismissal (updated book to be available spring 2005).
Staff attorneys make numerous presentations on timely issues with emphasis on the legal implications of statute, code and judicial/administrative decisions. The programs are attended by school board members, administrators, school board attorneys and members of the public. Some of the legal sessions have involved hands-on training with small groups, such as the Action Lab conducted at the Annual Workshop, legal/policy programs and the training program for new attorneys. Full-day and half-day sessions, many involving both lecture and the use of case studies, have concentrated on current issues including funding issues; access to public records; Sunshine Law; the School Ethics Act; Constitutional issues such as drug-testing, free speech and religious speech/activity; board governance; personnel issues; regionalization; and the No Child Left Behind Act. Staff attorneys also make presentations at county meetings, for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and other organizations.
In response to policy direction provided by the NJSBA Board of Directors and the NJSBA Delegate Assembly, staff attorneys draft proposed legislation and administrative regulations. The attorneys also analyze the legal implications of bills that are being considered by the Legislature, and administrative code proposals that are being considered by the State Board of Education, to determine whether and how these bills and proposals may affect local school districts. This analysis assists NJSBA’s governmental relations staff in pursuing the interests of school boards.
Staff attorneys read and analyze all decisions issued by the Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education and School Ethics Commission for inclusion in the Index to New Jersey School Law Decisions. The Index also includes selected rulings on education-related topics, issued by the courts, and entities such as the Government Records Council. This on-line research publication is of particular interest to school board attorneys and school administrators. It serves as a guide to locating school law decisions, and includes brief summaries of education decisions. It is periodically updated to reflect the most recent decisions available.
Staff attorneys represent the interests of NJSBA in litigation related to the governance and operations of the Association. They also render legal advice and assistance to the Association on all governance and corporate matters as directed by the General Counsel.
NJSBA attorneys serve as staff to Association Committees as assigned. In that role they provide legal advice and assistance to such committees and write or review final committee reports for legal accuracy and compliance with Association policy as assigned.
To assist the Board of Directors and representatives to the Delegate Assembly, staff attorneys analyze, research, and prepare background materials for action on resolutions and policy proposals that are brought for consideration to those bodies.
The Associate Membership Program of School Attorneys within the NJSBA, is an organization of persons professionally interested in the development and advocacy of school law with particular emphasis on the interests of local boards of education in the State of New Jersey. Its membership is limited to persons who are members of the Bar of New Jersey and who at the time of original membership have an attorney-client relationship with one or more boards of education or who have served as staff counsel to the New Jersey School Boards Association.