Mary C. Lawson


Background

Mary Lawson is an attorney who represents the School Board of Miami-Dade County, primarily in the areas of Academics, Special Education, and other student-centered issues. Ms. Lawson recently achieved the Florida Bar designation of Board Certified Specialist in Education Law.  Prior to working at M-DCPS, Ms. Lawson worked at a top 100 law firm in Washington D.C. and represented the School Board of Broward County.  She has practiced in the areas of education, government regulations, civil rights, immigration, and litigation.  Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Lawson was a middle and high school Social Studies teacher in three states, including Florida.

During law school, Ms. Lawson was the Executive Publications Editor of the Howard Law Journal and was employed as a Dean’s Fellow for Legal Research and Writing.  She served as an intern for the Honorable Brook Hedge, D.C. Superior Court and coordinated the Justice Harry A. Blackmun Summer Law College for Teens.  She has published articles in the area of special education.

Mary Lawson grew up and attended public schools outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Pittsburgh. She finished in the top ten percent of her graduating class at Howard Law School.

Practice Area


  • Education
  • Regulatory Law
  • Civil Rights
  • Immigration
  • Litigation

Notable Matters

L.J. v. Broward County School Board, DOAH Consolidated Cases 05-2805E, 05-3157E, 06-0371E, 06-0372E, 06-1107E (ALJ Meale). The School Board prevailed on the issue of IEP implementation after a 26-day due process hearing.

D.P., E.P., and K.P. v. Broward County School Board, DOAH Consolidated Cases 04-2942E, 04-2943E, 04-2944E (ALJ VanLaningham), affirmed on appeal. The School Board prevailed on the issue of triplets transitioning from Part C to Part B of IDEA who were not entitled to the continuation of their early intervention services as a pendency (“stay-put”) placement.

F.C. v. Miami-Dade County School Board, 998 So.2d 614 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2008) – The School Board prevailed on the denial of a parent’s request to bring a court reporter to an IEP meeting.

Pigford v. Glickman, (D.D.C. 2000) – Participated in preparing claims of African-American farmers in a class action lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture for racial discrimination in violation of Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Re Shino Husain - Represented a Kurdish Iraqi woman seeking asylum in U.S. Immigration Court (2003-2004).

Publications


  • An IDEA Gone Out of Control: Covington v. Knox County School Board, 45 How. L.J. 643 (Spring 2002)
  • Hearing Procedures for a Section 504 Claim by a Non-ESE Student in Florida, Florida Education Law Journal, Vol. 3:3 (May 2005)

Bar Admissions


  • Florida Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Education

Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.
  • Juris Doctorate, 2002
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Master of Arts in Teaching, 1992
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, Political Science, 1991

Memberships and Affiliations


  • Florida School Board Attorneys Association
  • Florida Bar Education Law Committee
  • National School Boards Association, Council of School Attorneys
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