Subject Matter of Inquiries
NHSBA can best assist your school board by answering questions of a general nature, especially questions that can be answered by reference to state statutes, regulations or school board policies. If an answer hinges on detailed facts, our Staff Attorney may recommend that your board consult with your school district’s regular legal counsel. These kinds of complex situations require fact-specific analysis in order to give you a legally sound answer. In those situations, such an inquiry may be beyond the scope of our legal services. Also, since NHSBA does not represent member school boards in court, your board’s regular legal counsel, the attorney who will represent you if the matter ends up in court, is the most appropriate legal counsel.
Limitations on NHSBA Legal Services
As with any attorney/client relationship, our legal advice is governed by the rules of professional conduct. Therefore, the following limitations apply: NHSBA’s attorney/client relationship is with your school board, not individual school board member. Therefore, the right to keep legal advice confidential belongs to the school board as a whole. This means that, while we don’t share that advice with the public, we will share it with other affected officials and other members of the school board.
- NHSBA must honor the attorney/client relationship between each member school board and your local legal counsel. Our legal advice is not meant to interfere with the important relationship between a school board and its regular attorney. In fact, we are quite willing to share ideas and opinions with your local legal counsel and typically have a positive collaborative relationship with the attorneys who represent school districts.
- Because our client is the school board, NHSBA cannot provide private citizens with opinions on education law as it impacts local school districts or local school boards.
- NHSBA cannot advise school board members on their own private legal issues. Similarly, NHSBA cannot advise one member school board on a matter involving a dispute with another member school board.
- NHSBA generally shares its legal information and advice with the superintendent, unless the inquiry relates to the superintendent’s employment or a job action relative to the superintendent’s employment.
NHSBA asks that legal inquiries be made by the school board chairperson, the Superintendent’s office, or other individual designated by the school board or Superintendent to make the inquiry.
How to Contact NHSBA Legal Services
NHSBA’s Staff Attorney and Director of Policy Services William Phillips can be reached via email at [email protected].