Poyner Spruill Welcomes Education Law Practice Group

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Rachel Nicholas

t: 919.783.1151 f: 919.783.1075

Rachel 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.


Rachel brings her previous experience as a second-grade public school teacher and passion for the education system to her practice. She is the past president of the Education Law and Policy Society and was a member of the Holderness Moot Court Bench at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a member of the North Carolina Council of School Attorneys and the National Council of School Attorneys.  Rachel is a Council member of the Education Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and is an active member of the Young Lawyer’s Division of the North Carolina Bar Association.  In 2019, Rachel was one of 16 attorneys selected to participate in the North Carolina Bar Association’s Leadership Academy.

Areas of Focus


  • Advises and trains school districts on compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other federal and state laws.
  •  Drafts local procedure manuals outlining school processes for compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  •  Defends claims in the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings and federal court under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
  •  Defends complaints in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the Office for Civil Rights
  • Attends Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Section 504 meetings as board counsel
  •  Responds to public records requests and requests for education records
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University of North Carolina School of Law, JD, 2014

University of North Carolina Greensboro, BA, 2009

+Notable Accomplishments

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® Ones to Watch (Education Law) 2023-2024

+Professional & Community Activities

North Carolina Council of School Attorneys, Member

National Council of School Attorneys, Member

North Carolina Bar Association- Education Law Section, Council Member

North Carolina Bar Association- Young Lawyers’ Division, Member

Here for you

Contact Rachel

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