Rick is a partner and serves as lead attorney for many educational institutions. For over twenty years, he has advised clients on a wide range of legal issues, including contract negotiations, labor relations and collective bargaining, employment law, business agreements, student affairs, civil rights and Title IX, constitutional law, athletics, technology, immigration, and governance issues. Rick has established close partnerships with clients to address legal issues and to develop creative solutions that support the objectives of the institution.
He has assisted clients on various complex issues, including issues involving employee compensation and benefits, employee leave and disability, business services agreements, social media, meetings and records, employment discrimination, workplace investigations, student discipline, and student safety. He regularly attends client meetings, prepares opinions, analyzes legislation, and provides other legal services. He has represented clients on matters before the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Additionally, he regularly works with educational institutions on issues related to athletics and sports, including WIAA rule compliance, Title IX audits and training, employment and compensation of coaches, facility use agreements, booster club issues, and student-athlete matters. Prior to entering private practice, he worked in the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department on issues related to NCAA rule compliance.
Rick frequently provides training on various issues for educational institutions and other state and national organizations, such as Career Learning, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, and the American Association of School Personnel Administrators. He has also authored publications and articles for the Wisconsin School Attorneys Association, the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, and the National School Boards Association.
Admitted to Practice
- Wisconsin State Courts
- United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
- Served as lead negotiator on collective bargaining agreements and advised clients on other labor law issues, including election campaigns, contract administration issues, concerted activities, and grievances.
- Drafted employee contracts, including negotiating contracts and attending board meetings to discuss legal compliance.
- Advised on compliance with state and federal athletic association rules and federal and state nondiscrimination laws.
- Drafted and negotiated business service agreements, licensing agreements, and software contracts without outside vendors for education clients.
- Drafted amicus briefs on behalf of Wisconsin Association of School Boards to Wisconsin Supreme Court on various school matters.
- Advised clients on various student issues, including student expulsion, subpoena issues, student speech, open enrollment, graduation, transgender students, administration of medication, and disability and special education issues.
- Provided training on various issues to clients, including student matters (Title IX compliance, etc.), governance issues (public records, open meetings, boardsmanship, etc.) and labor/employment issues.
Presentations, Publications, & Contributions
- Author, "Annual Survey of Wisconsin Law," School Law Chapter, State Bar of Wisconsin.
- Author, "Guide to Nonrenewing Teacher Contracts," Wisconsin School Attorneys Association.
- Author and Lecturer, for various state and national education associations, school districts, technical colleges, CESAs, and other private organizations, including the following:
- “Title IX and Athletics in Higher Education,” Presentation
- “Legal Issues on College Student-Athlete Mental Health,” Presentation.
- “Legal Issues on NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL),” Presentation
- “Legal Issues Concerning Student Athletic Codes,” Presentation.
- Discipline / Investigations
- “Cheating, Plagiarism, and Incidents of Academic Dishonesty in School,” Presentation
- “Investigating Student Misconduct,” Presentation
- “Student Threats and the First Amendment,” Publication
- “Working with Law Enforcement in Matters Involving Student Misconduct,” Publication
- Harassment / Bullying / Discrimination / Title IX
- “Harassment of Students, including Bullying and Cyberbullying,” Presentation
- “Pregnant and Parenting Student in College: Requirements Under Title IX,” Presentation
- “Title IX and Sexual Harassment: What Colleges and Universities Need to Know,” Presentation
- “National Origin and Ancestry Discrimination,” Presentation
- “Race-Based Discrimination,” Presentation
- “Lawfully Managing Student Records Without Violating Privacy Rights,” Presentation
- “FERPA and Confidentiality,” Presentation
- “Protecting Kids Online: Symposium on Student Safety,” Presentation
- “Reporting Suspected or Threatened Child Abuse or Neglect,” Publication
- “Weapons and Schools,” Publication
- LABOR / EMPLOYMENT
- Collective Bargaining
- “Addressing Questions About Act 10 After Supreme Court Decision,” Publication
- “Effects of Decertification of the Exclusive Bargaining Representative,” Publication
- “Elections of Bargaining Unit Representatives,” Publication
- “Employee Use of E-mail for Union Activities,” Publication
- “Drafting and Administering Teacher and Administrator Contracts,” Presentation
- “Preparing for Renewal and Nonrenewal of Teacher / Administrator Contracts,” Publication
- “Implementing the ADA Amendments Act,” Publication
- “Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Mental Disabilities,” Publication
- “Revocation of Teacher Licenses for Misconduct,” Publication
- “Teacher Evaluation, Discipline, and Termination: How to Handle Issues Lawfully,” Presentation
- “Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Employees,” Presentation
- “Nepotism and Employment Decisions,” Publication
- Constitutional Protections of Employees During Misconduct Investigations,” Presentation
- “Fifth Amendment Privilege and Employee Investigations,” Publication
- “Law Enforcement Searches of the Work Place,” Publication
- “Employee Eligibility A Look At Employee Eligibility Under the Federal and Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Acts,” Publication
- “Employment Rights of Uniformed Service Members,” Publication
- “Employee Off-Duty Use of Social Media,” Publication
- Wage and Hour
- “Auditing Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance,” Presentation
- “Selected Issues Regarding Wage and Hour Laws,” Publication
- Collective Bargaining
- “Board Member Roles and Responsibilities,” Presentation
- “Defamation Claims Against Public Employers and Officers,” Publication
- “Delegation of School Board Authority,” Publication
- “Issues for Board Members: Conflicts of Interest, Ethics, and Incompatibility of Offices,” Publication
- “Closed Sessions: Understanding the Exceptions to the Open Meeting Law,” Presentation
- “Minutes of School Board Meetings,” Publication
- “Public Participation at Board Meetings,” Publication
- “Disclosure of Investigation and Disciplinary Records of Employees,” Publication
- “Disclosure of Records of School District Contractors,” Publication
- “E-mails as Public Records,” Publication
- “Final Candidates Under the Wisconsin Public Records Law,” Publication
Community Involvement & Board Memberships
- Wisconsin School Attorneys Association
- Past President, 2016
- Board of Directors, 2012-2016
- Dane County Bar Association, Board of Directors, 2002-2004
- Sun Prairie Youth Basketball Association, Youth Basketball Coach, 2009-2013
- Wisconsin School Attorneys Association
- National School Boards Association, Council of School Attorneys
- State Bar of Wisconsin
- Government Lawyers Division
- Labor and Employment Law Section
- Dane County Bar Association
- Sports Lawyers Association
- National Public Employer Labor Relations Association
- Wisconsin Public Employer Labor Relations Association
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School, 1997
- Law Clerk to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice William A. Bablitch, 2000-2002
- B.A., With Honors, in Political Science, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, 1991
Richard’s Latest Writing & Presentations
School Law FYI | 09.28.22
As the procedural requirements for expulsion are usually the only basis upon which the State Superintendent reverses expulsion orders, school administration should be sure to put sufficient detail in an expulsion notice so there is no question that the student and the family were put on notice of the conduct alleged.