Legal and Field Services
Premier Active and Organizational NJPSA members and affiliated bargaining units are eligible to receive NJPSA legal and field services for employment-related issues to ensure due process. Recent changes to the tenure and seniority laws, among others, have enhanced the need for members to utilize NJPSA legal and field services to protect your rights and maximize job security. While some matters can be handled quickly with a telephone call or brief meeting, others may require extended litigation. Regardless, the NJPSA legal team will be there each step of the way to represent its members in court, with the Commissioner, before Boards, or wherever legal help is needed.
We are here for you!
Religious Holiday Displays in School by Wayne Oppito
If an Investigation Involving You Sounds Disciplinary, Call Us! by Andrew Schwartz
What to Do When Accused of a Hostile Work Environment, Sexual Harassment, or Other Affirmative Action Violation by Carol Smeltzer
Flag Salute – Rights of Schools and Students by Robert Schwartz and Wayne Oppito
Job-Related Legal Assistance
NJPSA Field Services
NJPSA’s Field Services provides members with support, guidance and representation in contract negotiations, grievances and, when needed, representation before boards of education. As contract negotiations become increasingly difficult, the availability of our field services becomes increasingly important. NJPSA field representatives are labor relations specialists well trained and skilled in assisting NJPSA members and affiliated collective bargaining units in improving job security, salaries, fringe benefits and working conditions. Field representatives conveniently represent members in the north, central, and southern regions of New Jersey.
Eligibility For Legal Services
NJPSA legal services are available to premier active NJPSA members who are members for at least three months prior to the claim for which legal services are needed. Members receiving NJPSA legal representation are required to continue their active membership until the conclusion of the legal action undertaken by NJPSA counsel. Affiliated bargaining units with 100% of its members belonging to NJPSA are eligible for NJPSA legal services in labor management disputes such as grievances, arbitrations, contract disputes, unfair practice complaints, and representation petitions.
Legal Assistance Policy
Click here for the NJPSA Legal Assistance Policy
NJPSA’s legal staff are also available for in–district school law workshops tailored to your needs. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
- Special Education
- Student Discipline
- Sexual Harassment
- Student Records
- First Amendment Rights of Staff and Students
- No Child Left Behind
- NJ Law Against Discrimination
Discipline by Robert Schwartz, NJPSA Chief Counsel and Carol Smeltzer
Division of Child Protection and Permanancy (formerly DYFS) by Carol Smeltzer
Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) by Robert M. Schwartz, Esq. and Carol R. Smeltzer, Esq.
The New Tenure Law by Robert Schwartz, NJPSA Chief Counsel
Observation/Evaluation and Professional Growth: What You Should Know by Wayne Oppito, Esq., David Nash, Esq., and Carol Smeltzer, Esq.
Public Schools and the First Amendment by Carol Smeltzer
Sexual Harassment by Carol Smeltzer
Legal Assistance Committee
NJPSA’s Legal Committee develops policy recommendations with respect to all legal issues involving the association. The committee reviews cases being handled by an association counsel(s) and decides upon financial assistance in the event that member(s) seek private counsel.
NJPSA’s Legal Aid Committee meets to consider:
- a member’s request for legal assistance when the member disagrees with the advice or recommendation of NJPSA assigned counsel, or
- the member’s request to have his or her matter appealed to an appellate court, or
- the member’s request to have NJPSA pay for the services of private counsel.
Assistance By National Associations
Both national principal associations, the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, provide financial assistance to help defray a member’s legal costs. An individual requesting assistance from either National Association must be a member of the National Association to which the request is submitted at the time of the occurrence of the action for which the member seeks assistance.
National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
NAESP may provide financial assistance to help defray legal costs from $1,000 to $10,000 following a $500 deductible. For a complete copy of the NAESP legal assistance policy statement, you can call the NAESP at 1-800-38-NAESP or you can visit www.naesp.org, choose “member services & benefits” and click “NAESP’s Legal Benefits Program”.
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
NASSP may provide financial assistance to help defray legal costs from $1,000 to $10,000 following a $500 deductible. For a complete copy of the NASSP legal assistance policy statement, you can call NASSP at 1-800-253-7746 or you can visit www.nassp.org, choose “member services” and click “legal services”.
NJPSA Personal Legal Program
Join the NJPSA Personal Legal Program
Anyone who has used NJPSA legal services for job related matters knows that having NJPSA counsel fight for your rights is an invaluable benefit. It’s insurance that you can’t be without. However, if you require legal assistance with a personal matter, NJPSA Legal Services do not extend to provide you protection. That is why we are offering our members the Personal Legal Program for a $75 annual fee in addition to your regular membership dues. Whether you are buying a new home, selling a home, entering into a contract, starting a corporation, or in need of a will, under the NJPSA Personal Legal Program, legal assistance is a phone call away. Should you need representation, you will be paired with a lawyer who can assist you with your personal needs.
Once you decide to participate in the NJPSA Personal Legal Program, you will have access to skilled attorneys who will assist you at a reduced rate. While rates may vary based on location, the most common fee schedules for program members are: (Note: the full brochure is available here.)
Real Estate Purchase
- South Jersey — $750
- Central Jersey — $850
- North Jersey — $950
Real Estate Sale
- South Jersey — $700
- Central Jersey — $800
- North Jersey — $950
Last Will & Testament, Living Will & Medical Power of Attorney
- Single — $250
- Husband/Wife — $450
Uncontested Divorce Proceedings
- $1,000 plus costs
Personal Injury Claims
- Contingent fees reduced from 33% to 25% for awards or settlements
Discrimination Claims or Other Matters
- legal fees reduced by 25% and/or contingent fee of 25%
Last Will & Testament: Why You Need One
A person’s last will and testament directs how his or her estate is to be divided — whether it all goes to the spouse, domestic partner, children or whether a portion of the estate goes to friends, educational institutions, or other charities. Without a will, the laws of succession or intestacy take over, and you will lose control of how you want your estate divided.
Estate Planning and Elder Care: Expertise Required
Leaving things to chance can cost much more than planning ahead. You need to understand your options and know your legal rights about advanced medical directives, trusts, guardianships, and powers of attorney.
Purchase and Sale of Homes: The Role of the Attorney
Your home is probably your biggest and best investment. When purchasing a home, you need an attorney to make sure the contract protects you to the fullest extent against all possible contingencies.
What You Have to Do to Join the Personal Legal Program?
You need to be a member of NJPSA. Then, for an additional annual fee of $75.00, you purchase the security of knowing that you will have access to an attorney when you need one at an established reduced fee structure.
How Does it Work?
When you need an attorney for a private legal matter, you call NJPSA. You will be immediately referred to an attorney, who will discuss the matter with you and provide representation, if necessary.
Why Should You Join?
Being a member of the NJPSA Personal Legal Program will give you the security of knowing that you will have access to an attorney who will fight to protect your rights.
Protect Yourself and Your Family. Register Today!
Learn more about recent legal decisions and their impact on you and your district:
Religious Holiday Displays in School by Wayne Oppito
Transgender Students by Andrew Schwartz
The Uniform MOA Between Education and Law Enforcement by Bill Nossen (Former NJPSA Attorney)
The California Teacher Tenure Decision – What Does It Mean? by Robert Schwartz