COSA School Law Seminar

April 2-4, 2020

The COSA School Law Seminar offers a specialized CLE experience for attorneys representing K-12 public school boards. The seminar will provide invaluable insights and practical advice from experienced practitioners on the key legal issues currently facing public schools.

Call for Proposals Now Open: Deadline August 30, 2019

The NSBA Council of School Attorneys invites its members to submit proposals for our 2020 School Law Seminar to be held April 2-4, 2020, in Chicago, IL. Check out the Call for Proposals instructions below, download the form and submit your proposal today!

Download Proposal Submission Form

Attendee registration for COSA School Law Seminar will open October 17, 2019.

Call for Proposals Instructions

The Seminar Committee encourages proposals for sessions that address current and relevant school law issues in an in-depth and interactive manner.  We are always looking to expand both the topics and speakers at this seminar. If you haven’t presented at this event, but have experience presenting at the state or national level and are knowledgeable about a particular topic area, we encourage you to submit a proposal.

See below for detailed proposal submission instructions, resources and topics.

  • School Law Seminar Audience

    The School Law Seminar attracts over 300 school attorneys from the U.S. and Canada. These attorneys are employed by firms, school districts, and state school boards associations. They are an engaged, energetic, and informed audience with important questions and examples to share from their practices. For the most part, our attendees have many years of experience in the school law field. They are looking for in-depth materials and discussion, not an introduction to your subject. Our most highly rated speakers are engaging, have extensive knowledge of their subject areas, and encourage active audience participation. 
  • Continuing Law Education Credit

    COSA applies for CLE credit in all states with a mandatory CLE requirement. This seminar will offer at least one hour of ethics credit and 10-12 hours of CLE in total.
  • Program Format

    Although the program format is subject to change based on the proposals received, space and time have been set aside for general (entire seminar audience) and concurrent (break-out) sessions. Concurrent sessions will offer in depth experiences for 50-150 participants. These sessions ideally are held in more of a “workshop” format rather than a lecture format. All presentations should be designed to involve participants in a meaningful way.
  • Topics

    This list is not exhaustive; rather, we encourage you to submit a proposal for one of these topics or others that you believe would be relevant and timely for school attorneys:

    • Free speech issues relating to:
      • Districts with Facebook pages and the posting/deleting of inappropriate material;
      • Staff use of social media;
      • The challenge of addressing negative speech;
      • School board members and social media, including during board elections; or
      • First Amendment Establishment Clause Claims.
    • Copyright – teacher actions, reproducing materials
    • Transgender student issues relating to:
      • Graduation ceremonies;
      • Pronouns; or
      • Participation in interscholastic sports.
    • Student discipline issues relating to:
      • Proactively reducing exclusionary methods of discipline; or
      • Addressing rescinded OCR “Dear Colleague letter” on student discipline.
    • Bulling/cyberbullying, including parent bullying of staff, overcommunication from parents
    • Investigation of educator misconduct with students
    • Technology issues relating to:
      • Managing a data breach;
      • Insurance coverage of data breaches; or
      • Better advising clients on technology issues.
    • Data privacy issues relating to:
      • School boards’ ability to access student information;
      • Teacher privacy (i.e. board members asking for personnel files); or
      • Insurance carrier access to staff records.
    • Ethics session on working with insurance carriers (i.e. Who is the client?)
    • New FERPA regulations, if applicable
    • New Title IX regulations, if applicable
      • How to conduct an objective/neutral investigation
    • School board governance relating to:
      • Training on superintendents/school boards collaboration;
      • The relationship between effective school boards & student performance; or
      • The importance of drafting a superintendent contract so that it increases student well-being and performance.
    • Student/employee mental health
    • Attorney wellness
    • Immunizations
  • Required Materials

    Because COSA seeks approval of our seminar for CLE credit, all sessions must be supported by substantive materials with legal references. COSA requires a presentation paper as well as a visual presentation such as a PowerPoint slide deck. If your proposal is accepted; papers will be due in late December/early January, and visual presentations will be due in early February. Your materials must be submitted in final, edited, and proofed form. We will not do significant editing or proofreading before publication. COSA reserves the right to withdraw an invitation to present at the 2020 School Law Seminar if materials are not received in a timely fashion or are inappropriate for publication.
  • Event Registration

    COSA offers one complimentary registration and one complimentary hotel night per session. Additional presenters who wish to attend the seminar will be required to register and cover their individual travel expenses.
  • Submission Alternatives

    In lieu of a formal proposal, you may submit a resume listing areas of expertise, prior speaking experience, and references. Speaker resumes may be used by the committee to fill speaking slots at the School Law Seminar and will be retained by COSA. Future seminar committees and COSA staff may refer to resumes to fill other speaking opportunities.

    If you would like to be considered in this manner, please send your speaking resume to Cheryl Richardson at
  • Proposal and Speaker Approval Process

    Please use the Session Proposal form to submit a proposal for a specific session.

    All proposals/resumes received by August 30 2019, will be evaluated by the seminar planning committee. Each firm or organization may submit up to three (3) proposals. The committee will make every effort to contact invited presenters by September 2019.

    You may submit a short video, but please do not submit audio tapes, or materials of an extensive length with your proposal, as the selection committee will not be able to review them. If you intend to submit a video, please notify Cheryl Richardson at prior to submission.

    The committee vets speakers with state school boards associations, and gives preference to speakers with significant success presenting to attorneys at the state and/or national level. However, new speakers are encouraged to submit a proposal. The committee is always looking for new dynamic and engaging speakers to include in the program. New speakers, please provide a reference to serve as an endorsement of your presentation skills.