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State of Massachusetts Education Legal Counsel - Counsel II in Malden, Massachusetts

The Education Secretariat is committed to equity and valuing the unique and diverse characteristics and experiences of every member of its workforce. We encourage an authentic workplace where colleagues show up as their full selves, where collaboration, innovation, and connections are key to realizing our mission that all children, youth, and families thrive socially, academically, and economically. We seek teammates who are committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive work environment, where everyone is valued and engaged. We encourage you to apply and identify your strengths in these areas. The Legal Office of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) advises the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Commissioner, and DESE staff on issues of education law, policy, and administration; works with the Attorney General’s Office on litigation; coordinates arbitrations under the Education Reform Act; and provides information to school officials, parents and students, and other constituents on the state and federal laws affecting public elementary and secondary schools, vocational-technical education, and adult basic education programs. The Legal Office includes the Office of Professional Practice Investigations, which investigates allegations of misconduct by licensed educators and pursues revocation or other license limitations in appropriate cases. The Counsel II position involves administrative law practice including legal research and writing; negotiation; public speaking and training; drafting regulations, legislation, and advisory opinions; addressing issues relating to public records, records retention, and data privacy; preparing for and conducting administrative adjudicatory hearings, including matters relating to licensure; drafting and reviewing contracts and interagency agreements; and collaborating with the Attorney General's Office on litigation. This position focuses particularly on legal work relating to special education and other programs and services for students with disabilities. The Counsel II reports to the Deputy General Counsel and works closely with other colleagues in the Legal Office. The Counsel II interacts with educators and policymakers throughout DESE. The selected candidate will perform the following duties: * Provide legal advice to DESE administrators and staff on state and federal laws governing elementary, secondary, vocational-technical, and adult basic education programs, with a particular focus on special education and other programs and services for students with disabilities; * Analyze legal requirements relating to special education and other regulated programs and provide legal counsel to DESE’s offices of Special Education Planning and Policy, Problem Resolution Services, Special Education in Institutional Settings, Approved Special Education Schools, and Public School Monitoring; * Assist DESE in carrying out its public information responsibilities with careful attention to the agency’s legal duties concerning public records, records retention, and data privacy; * Analyze and interpret laws and policies fundamental to education in the Commonwealth, including the Education Reform Act, Student Opportunity Act, Every Student Succeeds Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and state and federal laws concerning homeless students, students in foster care, and English learners; * Draft, review, analyze, and interpret documents including legislation, regulations, contracts, interagency agreements, and advisory opinions; * Prepare written and oral information, legal memoranda, and advisory opinions for DESE administrators and staff and local school officials concerning their duties under state and federal laws; * Communicate and coordinate as needed with officials of other state and federal agencies, school and district leaders, parents, advocacy organizations, and other constituents regarding education laws and policies; * Represent DESE in interagency meetings and negotiations; * Prepare materials and provide training to DESE staff and school officials on new legal developments; * Participate in formulating recommendations for the Commissioner regarding policies, legislation, and regulatory changes; * Represent DESE in administrative adjudicatory proceedings, including at the Bureau of Special Education Appeals; * Work with the Office of Professional Practice Investigations in educator licensure matters; and * Perform other duties as assigned by the General Counsel or Deputy General Counsel, or the Commissioner. Based on assignment, travel is required. Please include a cover letter and resume with your online application. Questions regarding this posting or the application process should be referred to Maureen O’Brien atmaureen.t.o’   Preferred Qualifications The qualified candidate will possess: • three (3) or more years of experience practicing law or in a position requiring membership in the Bar; • excellent analytical, legal research, and writing skills; • successful experience in the practice of law, including experience with some or all of the following: state and federal special education law; other laws affecting educational programs and services; administrative adjudicatory hearings or litigation; negotiation; • strong interpersonal skills, including ability to establish rapport, motivate, and maintain positive and productive relationships with colleagues and clients from diverse backgrounds; • ability to understand, apply, and explain the laws, rules, regulations, policies, standards, and guidelines governing education programs; • ability to process and assimilate detailed factual information presented orally or in writing; • ability to exercise sound judgment; • excellent communication skills, orally and in writing, including ability to write and present clear, appropriately detailed memoranda and documentation as required; • ability to strategize and work with others to solve problems; • ability to handle matters with mature judgment and discretion; • strong organizational skills, including ability to manage complex tasks and meet deadlines; • ability to work with confidential information and maintain the highest level of confidentiality; • ability to effectively manage a varied caseload while balancing multiple and competing priorities; • knowledge of state and federal education laws and the culture, organization and structures of public schools and districts; and • strong computer skills and fluency with Microsoft Word. First consideration will be given to those applicants that apply within the first 14 days. MINIMUM ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS: Applicants must have a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, admission to the Massachusetts Bar in good standing and (A) at least three years of full-time, or equivalent part-time, professional experience in the practice of law. Incumbents may be required to have a current and valid Motor Vehicle Drivers License at a Class level specific to assignment. *Comprehensive Benefits* When you embark on a career with the Commonwealth, you are offered an outstanding suite of employee benefits that add to the overall value of your compensation package. We take pride in providing a work experience that supports you, your loved ones, and your future. Want the specifics? Explore our Employee Benefits and Rewards! Executive Order #595:As a condition of employment, successful applicants will be required to have received COVID-19 vaccination or an approved exemption as of their start date. Details relating to demonstrating compliance with this requirement will be provided to applicants selected for employment. Applicants who receive an offer of employment who can provide documentation that the vaccine is medically contraindicated or who object to vaccination due to a sincerely held religious belief may make a request for exemption. An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Commonwealth is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. Research suggests that qualified women, Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage individuals who believe they have the skills necessary to thrive to apply for this role. *Job: Legal Services *Organization: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education *Title: *Education Legal Counsel - Counsel II Location: Massachusetts-Malden - 75 Pleasant Street Requisition ID: 22000ATH