Sarah L.W. Sutherland - Shareholder
Sarah L.W. Sutherland is a Shareholder in the San Diego office and chair of the firm’s Students and Special Education Practice Group. She is an advocate for public education, and has dedicated her career to serving school districts, county offices and special education local plan areas (SELPA). Sarah’s legal experience on behalf of school districts includes petitioning and responding to requests for due process, due process hearings, appeals of special education due process hearings, student discipline proceedings, policy development and revision, student transfers, and student’s first amendment rights and responsibilities. She is also well versed and experienced in legal issues surrounding charter schools, including petition review, oversight, special education compliance, student rights and discipline, and revocation. Sarah litigated one of the longest due process hearings in the history of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), has successfully compelled charter school compliance with special education and other laws, and guided authorizers through charter revocations where needed. She has also proven successful in practical, results oriented representation and dispute resolution, and effectively represented special education local plan areas and county offices of education involving cutting edge charter school and special education cross-over issues. Sarah’s expertise in student, special education and charter school issues uniquely poises her to deal with the complex issues that require in-depth knowledge and experience in each area. While at the University of Hawai'i she was actively involved in the community, serving various non-profit organizations and government agencies. She became interested in charter schools when working at the Governor’s Office in Hawai'i, and special education and student issues while working at the San Diego Unified School District. Her interest was piqued because both areas allowed her to work directly with educators on issues involving education.
- University of Colorado, Boulder (B.A., summa cum laude)
- William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa (J.D. and Public Policy Certificate with an emphasis on public education)
- State Bar of California
Memberships & Associations
- California Bar Association
- California Council of School Attorneys
- Ensuring Educational Benefit: Division and/or Coordination of Interagency Responsibilities (Supplemental Handout Only)
- Navigating Rights of Homeless, Foster and Detained Youth
- Investigating Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying: With a Twist!
- Special Education & Students Coffee Break Webinar - Unilateral Residential Placements: Where Are We?
- Special Education & Student Coffee Break Webinar - Diastat Administration & Related Sticky Issues
- Charter Authorizers "201" Webinar: Charter Petitions - Tips, Tricks and Politics
- Special Education & Students Coffee Break Webinar: County Mental Health Services Following Suspension of AB 3632 - Now What?
- Charter Authorizers "201" Webinar Series: Charter Renewal, Revisions and Revocation
- Charter Authorizers Webinar Series: Charter Schools As LEAs
- The Uneasy Mix of Charter Schools and Special Education
- Charter Authorizers Webinar Series: Setting High Standards Before and During the Petition Process, Part I