Attorneys from Kaye Scholer, Pfizer, Inc and Lawyers Alliance of New York (LANY) joined forces on Wednesday, March 26 to assess and address the legal needs of 17 New York City charter schools. During the four-hour program, 23 charter school representatives, referred by the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, received free training and guidance on legal issues of particular interest to them, such as the charter application process, board governance and oversight, employment law, and real estate financing and contracts.
Pfizer's new General Counsel, David Reid, started off the Assessment Day program, with lawyers from both Pfizer and Kaye Scholer leading the three break-out sessions. The Kaye Scholer presenter was attorney Alison King (Counsel, Corporate & Finance). Seventeen Pfizer lawyers participated in Assessment Day, as did Kaye Scholer associates from the New York Office.
Charter schools are independent public schools governed by a board of trustees and managed by the State Board of Regents to meet specific goals for student learning and achievement. They bring new resources, personnel and ideas to public education and give families a greater choice within the public school system. New York City's sixty charter schools currently serve about 15,000 students, 90% of whom are African-American and Latino, and have consistently outperformed regular public schools within their home districts and in the City as a whole on standardized tests.
This project is particularly timely and exciting because the State of New York lifted its cap on new charter schools in 2007, allowing for the creation of at least fifty new schools in New York City alone. Service providers and advisers in the charter school community will have many clients to serve and much work to be done on a variety of issues related to the formation of new charter schools. Kaye Scholer, Pfizer and LANY are already planning the next Assessment Day to address the legal needs of additional charter schools.