Rick is a member of the School Law Practice Group and the Labor and Employment Group at the firm.  Rick has extensive experience representing private and public sector clients on labor relations, employment law, harassment and bullying investigations, employment anti-discrimination, employee handbooks, social media, immigration matters, wage and hour laws, background checks, drug testing, family and medical leave, employee benefits, unemployment compensation, and workplace investigations. He has represented clients on matters before the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, and state courts.

Rick also has extensive experience representing schools and technical colleges on various education law issues, including teacher and administrator contracts, privacy and technology issues, citizen complaints, student discipline and expulsion, student disabilities, student records, coaching and athlete issues, meetings and records, special education, Title IX, student safety, software contracts, governance, property disputes, and many other issues. Rick regularly provides training, conducts compliance reviews, attends board meetings, drafts and negotiates contracts, prepares opinions, analyzes legislation and school board policies, and provides other legal services. Rick represents educational institutions at hearings before the Department of Public Instruction and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.

Read more

Admitted to Practice

  • Wisconsin State Courts
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Representative Work

  • Counseled school administrators related to employee misconduct investigations, including reports of child abuse, questioning of witnesses, drafting investigation reports, nonrenewal and termination hearings, and drafting severance agreements.
  • Advised administrators on student misconduct matters, including complying with state and federal harassment and discrimination laws, working with law enforcement, imposing student discipline, and ensuring student confidentiality.
  • 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.
  • Represented school boards during employee unemployment hearings, employee and student discrimination complaints, athletic code complaints, and employee contract nonrenewal hearings.
  • Conducted compliance review on employee handbooks, student handbooks, board policies, athletic codes, and wage and hour practices.
  • Drafted employee contracts, including negotiating contracts and attending board meetings to discuss legal compliance.
  • Prepared opinion letters on various legal issues, including technology, meetings, records, elections, weapons and school safety.
  • Drafted and negotiated 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.
  • Counseled administrators on employment matters, including hiring, wage and hour issues, background checks, interviewing, family and medical leave, evaluations, and employee benefits.
  • Obtained temporary visas for nonimmigrant employees and advised on various other immigration matters.
  • Counseled on harassment by outside third parties and helped clients obtain temporary restraining orders.
  • 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:
    • STUDENTS
      • Disabilities
        • “IEP and 504 Plan Legal Workshop,” Presentation
        • “Legal Issues Related to Behavioral Intervention Teams,” 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 Violence:  What Colleges and Universities Need to Know,” Presentation
      • General Student Matters
        • “Administration of Medication to Pupils,” Publication
        • “Every Student Succeeds Act:  Changes and Requirements,” Presentation
        • “Extracurricular Activities and Rules Concerning Appearance,” Publication
        • “Student Fees and School Board Authority,” Publication
        • “Two-Way Communication Devices,” Publication
        • “Undocumented Immigrant Students,” Publication
      • Records
        • “Lawfully Managing Student Records Without Violating Privacy Rights,” Presentation
      • Safety
        • “Protecting Kids Online:  Symposium on Student Safety,” Presentation
        • “Reporting Suspected or Threatened Child Abuse or Neglect,” Publication
        • “Weapons and Schools,” Publication
      • Speech
        • “Student Dress Codes in Schools:  Understand a School District’s Rights,” Presentation
    • 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
      • Contracts
        • “Drafting and Administering Teacher and Administrator Contracts,” Presentation
        • “Preparing for Renewal and Nonrenewal of Teacher / Administrator Contracts,” Publication
      • Disabilities
        • “Implementing the ADA Amendments Act,” Publication
        • “Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Mental Disabilities,” Publication
      • Discipline
        • “Revocation of Teacher Licenses for Misconduct,” Publication
        • “Teacher Evaluation, Discipline, and Termination:  How to Handle Issues Lawfully,” Presentation
      • General
        • “Defamation Claims by Board Members and District Employees,” Publication
        • “Employee Handbooks and Disciplinary Issues in Post Act 10 Environment,” Presentation
        • “Legal Implications of Workplace Wellness Programs,” Publication
        • “LGBTQ Employer Risks:  Addressing Workplace Issues,” Presentation
        • “Recent Cases Address Employee Speech Rights,” Publication
        • “Religious Dress and Grooming Practices By Employees,” Publication
      • Hiring
        • “Dos and Don’ts of Hiring Employees,” Presentation
        • “Nepotism and Employment Decisions,” Publication
      • Immigration
        • “I-9 Form:  Step-by-Step Review to Reduce Compliance Questions,” Presentation
        • “I-9 Self-Audit:  How to Reduce Risks and Avoid the Penalties,” Presentation
      • Investigations
        • Constitutional Protections of Employees During Misconduct Investigations,” Presentation
        • “Fifth Amendment Privilege and Employee Investigations,” Publication
        • “Law Enforcement Searches of the Work Place,” Publication
      • Leave
        • “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
      • Technology
        • “Employee Off-Duty Use of Social Media,” Publication
      • Unemployment
        • “Best Practices for Managing Unemployment Compensation,” Presentation
      • Wage and Hour
        • “Auditing Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance,” Presentation
        • “Selected Issues Regarding Wage and Hour Laws,” Publication
  • GOVERNANCE
    • Boardsmanship
      • “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
    • Business Matters
      • “Gifts and Donations to the School District,” Publication
      • “Real Estate Transactions in School Districts,” Publication
    • Elections
      • “School District Referenda,” Publication
    • Meetings
      • “Closed Sessions:  Understanding the Exceptions to the Open Meeting Law,” Presentation
      • “Minutes of School Board Meetings,” Publication
      • “Public Participation at Board Meetings,” Publication
    • Records
      • “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
    • Technology
      • “Understanding Privacy in the School Environment,” Presentation

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

Professional Memberships

  • 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
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association

Education

  • 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

*bc*