Poyner Spruill, LLP is pleased to announce that it is adding an Education Law Practice Group to the firm. The practice group will soon be comprised of 9 attorneys with a variety of expertise. Katie Cornetto (partner), Rachel Nicholas (associate), Rebecca Williams (associate), and Laura Crumpler (of counsel) joined the firm on Friday, October 15th. Rachel Hitch (partner), Brandon McPherson (partner), Brian Shaw (partner), Grace Sykes Pennerat (associate), and Dr. Amy Clay (associate) are joining the firm on Monday, November 1st. They will be physically located in our Raleigh office, but plan to spend time in our Rocky Mount and Charlotte offices.
Our new Education Law Practice Group will be experienced in all facets of education law. The team has served schools all across the state, and includes attorneys with decades of experience advising and representing local boards of education. In addition, the team has a comprehensive understanding of all matters relating to the School Budget and Fiscal Control Act, federal and state pass-through or matching funding programs (e.g. – Title I, vocational funds, exceptional children’s funds), and other aspects relating to finance and accounting.
The team’s experience spans across the vast needs of school boards, including property acquisition, construction, and contracts; policy work; special education programs; as well as the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 as it relates to public school systems.
As we welcome our new team, we are also pleased that the Education Law Practice Group is bringing to the Firm the following new clients:
- Wilson County Schools
- Franklin County Schools
- Montgomery County Schools
- Martin County Schools
Katie Cornetto (joined Friday, October 15th) focuses her practice exclusively on education law. She started her legal career counseling educators on education law and employment issues as the Director of Member Advocacy for the Professional Educators of North Carolina. Katie was later hired as lead in-house legal counsel to the NC State Board of Education and NC Department of Public Instruction. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Katie received her J.D. from North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Rachel Hitch (joining Monday, November 1st) devotes her practice to education law, with an emphasis on issues in special education. Clients trust her to defend against due process actions, state complaints, and OCR investigations. Rachel has been asked to participate in the working groups on both the state and national levels to provide input on state special education issues and the anticipated Congressional revision of the IDEA. Rachel received her B.A. from Bloomsburg University and her J.D. from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University.
Brandon McPherson’s (joining Monday, November 1st) practice is centered on education law. He represents his clients in myriad matters including, litigation, construction, finance, personnel matters, and disaster relief and recovery. Brandon received his B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy from North Carolina State University. He received his J.D. from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University.
Brian Shaw (joining Monday, November 1st) has extensive education law experience. He provides counsel to public school systems throughout the State. Brian is a frequent speaker at the district, state, and national levels on many different topics dealing with education law. In addition, Brian is an Adjunct Professor at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University. He graduated, cum laude, from Harvard College and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Laura Crumpler (joined Friday, October 15th) has over thirty years of education law experience. She retired as Special Deputy Attorney General with the Education Section of the Attorney General’s Office in 2017. Before law school, Laura taught elementary school in rural Stokes County until 1976. She has worked as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Wilmington, practiced in the private sector, and served as General Counsel for the NC School Boards Association. Laura has extensive experience in the areas of charter schools, teacher licensure, federal and state constitutional law, administrative law, education law, and employment law. Laura graduated from Salem College, cum laude, and received her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.
Rebecca Williams (joined Friday, October 15th) assists public school systems in all aspects of education law. Rebecca brings several years of experience as a high school, community college, and college Spanish teacher. She received her B.A. in Foreign Languages, and received her M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of New Hampshire. Rebecca graduated with her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.
Grace Sykes Pennerat (joining Monday, November 1st) started her career in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Public Policy where she was a research assistant and course administrator for the Honors Carolina Burch Field Research Seminar in Washington, DC. After receiving her J.D. she now focuses her practice on education law. Grace graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Global Studies and a minor in Art History. She received her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law.
Rachel Nicholas (joined Friday, October 15th) assists public school systems throughout the State. She focuses her practice exclusively on education law. Before pursuing a legal career, Rachel taught second grade in Rocky Mount, North Carolina through Teach For America. She is a member of the North Carolina Council of School Attorneys, the National Council of School Attorneys, and the Education Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. Rachel graduated from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.A. in Political Science. She received her J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Amy Clay (joining Monday, November 1st) assists public school systems in all aspects of education law. She is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division, the Wake County Bar Association, and the Campbell Law Alumni Association. Amy graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Psychology and Sociology. She received her J.D. from Campbell University and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from North Carolina State University.
“We are very excited to welcome the new group to the firm. The addition of the Education Law Practice Group allows us to serve existing clients in a new way and welcome new clients to Poyner Spruill. I am excited to add such great talent to our firm and continue to expand the reach and impact we are able to have on the community at large,” says Managing Partner Dan Cahill.