2020

Schwartz Hannum PC Welcomes Attorney Elizabeth L. Sherwood

Schwartz Hannum PC is thrilled to announce that Elizabeth L. Sherwood has joined the Firm's Education Practice Group and Labor and Employment Practice Group. Beth advises independent schools, colleges, and universities on all aspects of school operations and employee matters.

Beth regularly partners with school leadership to address student and parent issues including accommodating applicants, employees, and students with disabilities, hiring and managing faculty and staff, and risky terminations. She also assists clients with myriad governance and compliance documents such as student and employee handbooks.

Prior to joining the Firm, Beth was an associate at Murphy Hesse Toomey & Lehane, LLP, where she primarily represented public school districts before state and federal courts and in matters pending before or otherwise involving administrative agencies, including the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Unemployment Assistance, the Department of Children and Families, the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, and the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. She advised clients on a wide variety of matters involving special education and general liability, investigated claims of discrimination and employee misconduct, drafted contracts, policies, school forms, and handbooks, and conducted trainings on various topics including civil rights, state and federal student privacy laws, student and employee discipline, and compliance with state and federal special education laws.

Previously, Beth worked as a public defender with the Committee for Public Counsel Services, litigating Care and Protection and Child Requiring Assistance cases on behalf of indigent clients before the Massachusetts Juvenile and Appeals Courts. As the trial and interlocutory appeals attorney, she was partially responsible for the father's successful appeal in the Supreme Judicial Court case, Care and Protection of Walt.

Beth received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at San Diego, and her J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School. While in law school, she participated in a domestic violence and family law clinic and prosecuted criminal cases in the District Attorney's Offices in Nashville, TN and San Francisco, CA.

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Sarah H. Fay Selected As "Up & Coming Lawyer" By Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Schwartz Hannum PC is thrilled to announce that Sarah H. Fay has been selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as a 2020 Excellence in the Law “Up & Coming Lawyer” Honoree. This annual award recognizes rising stars in the legal community who have practiced for 10 years or less, but who have already distinguished themselves in their firm and practice.

Sarah is Of Counsel at Schwartz Hannum PC and is a member of the Firm’s Education Practice group. She focuses on the unique legal needs of early child care programs, independent primary and secondary schools, and colleges and universities. Sarah advises these clients on all aspects of school operations, including student and parent issues, employment matters, governance issues, and crisis management.

Sarah routinely advises the Firm’s education clients on the legal framework for admissions processes and enrollment contracts; accommodating students with disabilities; responding to and investigating student interpersonal misconduct; disciplinary matters; student health and safety; risk management strategies for off-campus trips; student records and confidentiality issues; and policies and practices for promoting an inclusive community. For educational institutions that receive federal funding, Sarah assists with Title IX compliance. Sarah also represents schools against breach of contract, consumer protection claims, and disability discrimination claims.

In addition, Sarah counsels clients on the full spectrum of employee matters, including conducting reference and background checks; faculty contracts and offer letters; implementing performance improvement plans; managing leaves; and voluntary early retirement plans, reductions in force, and terminations. Sarah works closely with clients to develop strategies that comply with applicable laws and reflect best practices while maintaining the unique culture of each school.

As part of her practice, Sarah educates students on the evolving definition of consent, anti-bullying and anti-hazing training, acceptable use of technology and social media risks, and other key issues students may confront. In addition, she provides training for faculty, staff, and school administrators on topics ranging from professional boundaries, child abuse and neglect reporting, conducting investigations into student and employee misconduct, accommodating students with disabilities, and other topics unique to the school setting. Sarah is also a frequent presenter at national and local independent school conferences on education law issues.

Sarah is a 2008 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Women’s Swimming and Diving Co-Captain, and received her J.D., cum laude, in 2014 from New England Law, Boston, where she was a recipient of the New England Scholar Award. She is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the State of Rhode Island, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Boston Bar Association, and the Rhode Island Bar Association. Sarah was selected as a Massachusetts Super Lawyers® Rising Star in 2019, 2018 and in 2017.

Sarah will be honored at the 2020 Excellence in the Law event, which will be held virtually on July 22.

See more information and a complete list of honorees on the MLW website: https://masslawyersweekly.com/excellence-in-the-law/honorees/

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Kirsten B. White Named Partner Of Schwartz Hannum PC

Schwartz Hannum PC is thrilled to announce that Kirsten B. White has been named a Partner of the Firm. Kirsten is a member of the Firm's Labor and Employment and Education Practice groups. Kirsten prioritizes exceptional client service in her legal work, and her client-first approach emphasizes accessibility, responsiveness, and personal investment in meeting client objectives.

Kirsten counsels employers and educators on labor and employment law issues, focusing her practice on collective bargaining and matters arising under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Railway Labor Act (RLA). She represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proceedings, and labor arbitrations, and counsels clients in connection with all aspects of labor-management relations and collective bargaining agreement administration.

Kirsten also counsels employers on compliance with a range of federal, state, and local labor and employment laws, including wage and hour issues and matters related to corporate transactions and workplace policies. She has significant depth and breadth of experience advising employers with respect to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and in the design and implementation of effective and compliant veteran hiring programs. Kirsten conducts internal investigations, including those related to sexual harassment, statutory compliance, and alleged employee misconduct, and advises organizations and high-level executives on the management and remediation of high-stakes workplace issues.

Kirsten also routinely advises independent schools, and colleges and universities, on all aspects of school operations, including responding to and investigating alleged student misconduct; employment and governance matters; student health and safety issues; collective bargaining and National Labor Relations Act compliance; and crisis management.
Kirsten frequently speaks as an experienced management-side labor relations practitioner at national and regional conferences and seminars for attorneys, human resources and labor relations professionals, and education leaders. She also conducts on-site trainings for executives, in-house counsel, and management on topics including compliance with policies and procedures, employee discipline and misconduct issues, harassment, and recognizing and reporting other types of misconduct.

Before joining Schwartz Hannum PC, Kirsten was an associate at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP in its Boston and Washington, D.C. offices.

From 2009 to 2013, Kirsten served as the Policy Director to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden in the Office of the Vice President of the United States, and prior to attending law school, she worked as a clerk on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee staff of Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI). In these positions, Kirsten developed considerable domestic policy expertise, particularly in the areas of workforce training, veterans, education, and women's health. Kirsten serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

She is a 2000 graduate of Middlebury College, and earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2007. Kirsten is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and the State of New York, and is a member of the American Bar Association, American Bar Association Committee on Practice and Procedure Under the NLRA, Boston Bar Association, Boston Bar Association Labor & Employment Steering Committee, the District of Columbia Bar Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and is active in the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) and the NAMWOLF Labor and Employment Practice Area Committee.

In 2018, Kirsten was selected by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as a Top Woman of Law. She was selected as a Massachusetts Super Lawyers® Rising Star in 2018.

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Schwartz Hannum PC COVID-19 Update

Schwartz Hannum PC will continue to operate fully during this time of disruption and uncertainty caused by COVID-19. As always, our top priorities are the health and safety of our staff, community, and clients, and our continued accessibility to our clients.

All Schwartz Hannum attorneys have the technology and ability to operate remotely and, consistent with the recent guidance from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, will be doing so until further notice. Our office will remain staffed by essential personnel to ensure our systems continue to run smoothly.

If you have questions about COVID-19 or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact your SHPC attorney.

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Sara Schwartz Quoted In Inside Higher Ed Article Regarding CDC Guidance On Coronavirus And Exchange Programs

On March 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued guidance recommending that colleges and universities consider asking foreign exchange students in the United States to return to their home countries, and consider asking American students studying abroad to return home. Sara Schwartz was quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article “CDC to Colleges: 'Consider' Canceling Exchange Programs” on March 3, 2020.

“My takeaway from the CDC guidance is that every educational institution, whether it is an independent school or a higher ed entity, needs to take seriously the mandate to ‘consider,’” said Schwartz, whose firm represents more than 250 educational institutions. “I think prior to this guidance, we had a lot of flexibility from a risk-management perspective, but the guidance increases the institutional risk of proceeding with these programs. The CDC is saying you better think twice.”

"I’m telling all my schools that this is day to day," said Schwartz. "If they want to keep going on their trips, they can. There's an increased risk from a liability perspective, but they can keep going. They have a green light as long as it’s a level 1 country. But it's riskier. But it’s day to day."

Read the complete article on the Inside Higher Ed website

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Kirsten White Quoted In Mass Lawyers Weekly Article "NLRB Shift On Workplace Hate Speech May Be Near"

In an article published February 6, 2020 by Mass Lawyers Weekly, Schwartz Hannum PC Of Counsel Kirsten B. White discusses an anticipated labor law development expected to make it easier for employers to stamp out harassing, vulgar and offensive workplace language, even if used in conjunction with conduct protected by the NLRA. The full article is available on the Mass Lawyers Weekly website.