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Education law encompasses a number of legal disciplines, constantly evolving constitutional standards and shifting legislative priorities - perhaps more so this year, with two anticipated special education cases from the Supreme Court and new leadership at the federal level seemingly intent on reversing course on many of the prior administration’s priorities. At the same time, the wheels of justice move slowly and deliberately, playing out on the local level in quieter but still significant ways. During this CLE, school law practitioners from around the state will discuss interesting cases and trends in education law with a theoretical, historical and practical perspective.  

In addition, this session presents an opportunity to fulfill your substance abuse/mental health credit requirement through an uplifting and thought-provoking presentation by Michael Ethridge.

This seminar is an intermediate level program.

8:30 a.m. Registration

8:55 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks
9 a.m. Education Law Update

David N. Lyon, Duff & Childs, LLC, Columbia
Ashley C. Story, White & Story, LLC, Columbia

9:30 a.m. Enforcing State Constitutional Clauses on Education – What’s Next for the Abbeville Plaintiffs?
Laura Callaway Hart, Duff & Childs, LLC, Columbia
In 1993, a group of South Carolina's poorest school districts banded together to sue the state for failing to ensure that their students had access to adequate educational opportunities the SC Constitution guaranteed. Twenty-four years later, despite having prevailed on the merits of the case, they are still waiting for a final resolution of their complaints. This presentation will examine the remedial phases of education finance litigation in South Carolina and elsewhere – the arguments, the processes and the results.

10:30 a.m. Morning Break

10:45 a.m. Navigating Teacher Certification Issues: Misconduct, Appeals and Other Problems
E. Scott Winburn, S.C. Department of Education, Columbia
Wendy B. Cartledge, S.C. Department of Education, Columbia
Join an attorney panel from the SCDOE as they discuss common issues that lead to teacher and administrator discipline. The panel will review the most recent trends, cover procedure and investigation processes, and discuss the vantage points from all angles: district, teacher and state department.

11:45 a.m. Lunch (on your own)

1:15 p.m. The Endrew F. Decision – Does Rowley Remain the Standard and What is Appropriate in Light of the Circumstances?
Drew H. Davis, Beaufort County School District, Beaufort
In March 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its highly anticipated ruling in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, one of two special education cases heard by the high court this year. The Justices made their way through a “blizzard of words” before reaching a unanimous decision on the standard for what educational benefit disabled students should receive under federal law. Attendees will learn about the history of the case, the significance of the Court’s holding, and what it will mean for schools and special education students in South Carolina.  

2:15 p.m. School Desegregation in 2017—The Process of Achieving Full Unitary Status
Lindsey Anne Thompson, Georgetown County School District, Columbia
Ask a group of non-lawyers to name a Supreme Court case, and many will name Brown v. Board of Education. Everyone knows the case was about school desegregation, and most people assume that desegregation was achieved across the United States shortly after the Supreme Court rendered the Brown decision. Surprising to many, however, is the fact that hundreds of school districts around the country (including about a dozen South Carolina districts) remain under active desegregation orders from the federal government. In this session, attendees will review the case law history of school desegregation, learn about the process of working with the Department of Justice and federal courts to achieve “unitary status,” and discuss why some fear that the “school choice” movement could recreate de facto segregation in our public schools.

3:15 p.m. Afternoon Break

3:30 p.m. Attorney Well-Being – A Cornerstone of Professionalism
R. Michael Ethridge, Ethridge Law Group, LLC, Charleston
Mike Etheridge is the founding chair of the South Carolina Bar’s Attorney Wellness Committee and speaks frequently on the issue of attorney wellness to judges and lawyers across the country. In this presentation, Mr. Etheridge will focus on the importance of paying adequate attention to mental and physical well-being in the context of working in the practice of law. Attendees will be advised on strategies and tactics for prioritizing personal well-being while maintaining and active and thriving practice.   

4:30 p.m. Adjourn

All registrations must be pre-paid. Cancellation & Refund Policy: Refunds, less $25 administrative fee, will be made for cancellations received in writing to the CLE Registrar at registrar@scbar.org by 5 p.m., one week prior to the seminar. Cancellations will not be accepted within one week of seminar date. One-time transfers to seminars of like value or to the live webcast of the seminar (if available) will be accepted for a $25 administrative fee in lieu of cancellations within one week of seminar. Requests to transfer to the live webcast must be received by 1 p.m. the day prior to the program. Designated substitutes may take the place of registrants unable to attend.


  • Columbia
    In-Person Seminar
    Bar Conference Center
    1501 Park Street , Columbia, SC 29201