Overview

Dave Garner is a respected thought-leader, whose experience and influence in education law reaches from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the courtroom and beyond. 

For over 20 years, Dave has developed ongoing, long-term relationships with traditional public schools, charter schools, private schools, as well as private and public post-secondary educational institutions of all stripes. Dave’s expertise is frequently sought in an outside general counsel role for compliance training, policy-shaping, day-to-day advice, and on-call responsiveness to emergencies and inquiries about everything related to school law – including FERPA, public records, open meeting law, student discipline, employment issues, third-party contracts, 1st Amendment issues, regulatory compliance, etc. 

Dave has played a significant role in shaping and implementing policy in schools across Arizona and the rest of the country. Staying on top of emerging legal developments, Dave issues client alerts and assists schools in developing policies and procedures and in training administrators and school staff to ensure legal compliance and to avoid litigation and other legal pitfalls. 

Having earned a formidable reputation representing business clients in trial and appellate courts, Dave is also prepared to assist when regulatory disputes arise or litigation is necessary. Bringing his business litigation skills to bear, Dave helps schools navigate regulatory complaint procedures before ASBCS, ADE, OCR, OAH, as well in the courtroom. Dave regularly represents clients in litigation, administrative hearings, regulatory investigations, compliance reviews, and investigations.

Dave is particularly knowledgeable in addressing issues relating to students with disabilities, frequently representing schools in due process complaints, and in advising schools in responding to state administrative complaints and complaints filed with the Office for Civil Rights.

A prolific presenter on educational law issues, Dave travels across the country to present on issues ranging from disabilities and discipline to student records and religious expression, as well as topics running the gamut in between. 

Dave was recognized by Best Lawyers in 2021 for his experience in Education Law.

Awards

  • Best Lawyers®, “Lawyer of the Year, Education Law”, 2023
  • Best Lawyers®, Education Law, 2021-2023

Activities

Professional Activities

  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society-Greater Phoenix Chapter, Board Member, 2018-Present (Chapter Chair, 2021-Present)
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society, International Chair of Leadership Development Committee (November 2020-November 2022); Annual Conference Co-Chair (2020)
  • State Bar of Arizona, Religious Liberty Law Section, Executive Council, (2016-2022; Section Chair, 2017-2018)
  • State Bar of Arizona, Class Action & Derivative Suits Committee, Member (2012-2014)

Community Activities

  • Arizona Council of School Attorneys, Member, 2001-Present
  • National School Boards Association, Member, Council of School Attorneys, 2001-Present
  • Boy Scouts of America, various positions, 2007-2020
  • Ross Farnsworth East Valley YMCA, Board Member, 2012-2018 (Board Chair 2016-2017)
  • Foundation for Blind Children, Board Member, 2007-2010
  • CEFPI Foundation & Charitable Trust, Board of Trustees Member, 2006-2012

Insights

Client Alerts

Publications

  • Finding your Due Process Zen: Preparing to testify with confidence—and tips that can help you avoid the hot seat in the first place!,” Distinguished Speaker, Missouri CASE (Council of Administrators of Special Education) (Columbia, MO), Mar. 2022.
  • Independent Educational Evaluations: Your Top 10 Questions Answered! Inquiry and Analysis, COSA, December 2018
  • Developing Admissions and Enrollment Policies for your Public Charter School, Arizona Charter Schools Association, July 2017
  • Case Note, “Impact of Conditional Incentive Awards on Adequacy of Representation in Class Settlements: Radcliffe v. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc.,” No. 11-56376 (9th Cir., April 22, 2013), ABA Class Actions and Derivative Suits website, May 2013
  • Case Note, “Cost-sharing by plaintiffs in connection with precertification discovery: Boeynaems v. LA Fitness International LLC,” No. 10-2326 (E.D. Penn. Aug. 16, 2012), ABA Class Actions and Derivative Suits website, September 2012
  • Case Note, “Preemption of state laws purporting to invalidate class action waivers: Pendergast v. Sprint Nextel Corporation,” No. 09-10612 (11th Cir., Aug. 20, 2012), ABA Class Actions and Derivative Suits website, September 2012
  • “Socratic Misogyny? – Analyzing Feminist Criticisms of Socratic Teaching in Legal Education,” Brigham Young University Law Review 1597 (2000)
  • “The Continuing Vitality of the Case Method in the Twenty-First Century,” Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal 307 (2000)
  • “A Failed Coup on the Judicial Monarchy,” Book Note, Brigham Young University Law Review 887 (1999)
  • Bulgarian Grammar Supplement, Missionary Training Center (1993)

Seminars/Presentations

  • “Religion in the Public Schools: An Update in Light of Kennedy v. Bremmerton School District,” Presenter, Arizona School Boards Association, Annual Law Conference (Phoenix, AZ), September 2022
  • “The Ins and Outs of Discipline and Behavior Interventions for Students with Disabilities,” Presenter, Arizona School Boards Association, Annual Law Conference (Phoenix, AZ), September 2022
  • “Making the Right Decisions at the Right Time,” Presenter, Special Education Leaders Training, Hillsborough County Public Schools (Tampa, FL), August 2022
  • “Education Law in the Time of COVID,” Arizona State Bar Convention (Phoenix, AZ) June 2022
  • “Communication Caveats, Client Conflicts, and Warnings Regarding Witnesses: A Round Up of Legal Ethics for School Lawyers,” LRP’s National Institute 2022 (Louisville, KY), April 2022
  • “The Top 8 Things Schools Do to Sabotage Themselves in Due Process-AND How to Avoid Them!,” LRP’s National Institute 2022 (Louisville, KY), April 2022
  • The New World of K-4 Discipline under HB2123 (A.R.S. § 15-843(K)), aka, “We-Really-Really-Really-Don’t-Want-You-To-Suspend-Or-Expel-Young-Kids Act,” December 2021
    Presenter, OM Client Webinar
  • Disciplining Students With Disabilities in Compliance with IDEA and Section 504, December 2021
    National Webinar Presenter, LRP Education Webinars
  • “The Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine in Ball v. Ball: A Case Study on the Limitations of Judicial Intervention into Religious Disputes,” Presenter, Arizona State Bar Webinar (Phoenix, AZ), December 2021
  • “Legal Grab Bag: Things to Keep Your Eyes On!”, Co-Presenter, OM Lunch and Learn Lecture Series, October 2021
  • “Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot: Top 10 Ways Schools Sabotage Themselves in Due Process—And How to Avoid Them,” Presenter, Arizona School Boards Association, Annual Law Conference (Phoenix, AZ), September 2021
  • “The Legal and Practical ABCs of FBAs and BIPs in Remote and Hybrid Settings,”
    LRP’s National Institute 2021 (Virtual), April 2021
  • “Shaking in My Boots: Ethically and Effectively Preparing Reluctant School Witnesses for Due Process,” LRP Special Education School Attorney Conference (New Orleans, LA), January 2020
  • “Achoo!!! Serving Students with Allergies & Handling Immunization Issues Without Getting a Legal Rash,” NSBA Council of School Attorneys (COSA) Law Seminar 2019 (Santa Fe, NM), October 2019
  • “Religious Expression in Schools and the Public Square, J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Salt Lake City Chapter, Fireside (Salt Lake City, UT), September 2019
  • “Student Discipline under the IDEA: From the FAPE-Free Zone to Special Circumstances Removals, and Everything in Between,” Pacific Northwest Institute on Special Education & the Law (Seattle, WA), September 2019
  • “Section 504: The Special Education Law that Affects the Most Students (and Staff),” Arizona School Boards Association, Annual Law Conference, September 2019
  • “Roundtable on Working with OCR under OCR’s Updated Case Processing Manual,” Arizona School Boards Association, Annual Law Conference (CLE Track), September 2019
  • “Civility in the Religious Liberty Debate & Religion in the Public Schools,” Arizona State Bar Convention, Breakfast CLE, June 2019
  • “‘Dear Santa, I Can Explain’ … When Students Claim a Disability Only After an Expellable Offense,” LRP’s National Institute 2019 (Orlando, FL); Arizona Charter Schools Association, Legal Week 2019, May 2019
  • “‘You’re Anxious; I’m Anxious; We’re ALL Anxious – Meeting the Needs of Students With Anxiety,” LRP’s National Institute 2019 (Orlando, FL); Arizona Charter Schools Association, Legal Week 2019, May 2019
  • “I Spy with My Little Eye: Ensuring Compliance with Your Child Find Obligations under the IDEA and Arizona Law,” Arizona Charter Schools Association Governance Week, March 2019
  • “Applying Motion Practice and the Rules of Civil Procedure to Administrative Proceedings,” Moderator, Bench and Bar CLE, State Bar of Arizona, Administrative Law Section, March 2019
  • “Deep Dive into Student Discipline—Special Education Edition,” OM Lunch and Learn Lecture Series, February 2019
  • “A Kinder, Gentler OCR?: Tools and Strategies for Responding to Complaints under OCR’s Updated Case Processing Manual,” LRP Special Education School Attorney Conference (Phoenix, AZ), January 2019
  • “Independent Educational Evaluations: Your Top 10 Questions Answered!,” Council of School Attorneys (COSA) Webinar, October 2018
  • “FBAs and BIPs: Staying Compliant and Addressing Misconduct With a Positive Approach,” LRP Education Webinars, October 2018
  • “Family Law Within the Schoolhouse Gates,” Arizona School Boards Association, Annual Law Conference, September 2018
  • “10 Things Every (non-sped) Teacher Needs to Know About Special Education,” Arizona Charter Schools Association, Legal Week 2018, May 2018 
  • “Avoiding Pitfalls and Potholes in Admission and Enrollment Practices,”
    Arizona Charter Schools Association, Legal Week 2018, May 2018
  • “Independent Educational Evaluations: Your Top 10 Questions Answered!,” Council of School Attorneys (COSA) Law Seminar 2018 (San Antonio, TX),  April 2018
  • “Navigating MDRs, FBAs, BIPs, IAESs, and Other Strange Creatures that Dwell in Special Ed Discipline,” LRP’s National Institute (Dallas, TX), April 2018
  • “Independent Educational Evaluations: Your Top 10 Questions Answered!,”LRP’s National Institute (Dallas, TX), April 2018
  • “Avoiding Pitfalls and Potholes in Admission and Enrollment Practices,” Yavapai County Education Service Agency Training, March 2018
  • “Kojak on Campus: Dealing with Law Enforcement at School,” Arizona Charter Schools Association, Business Summit, November 2017
  • “Kojak on Campus: Dealing with Law Enforcement at School,” OM Lunch and Learn Lecture Series, November 2017
  • “Keeping Kids Safe: Dealing with Sex Offenders in and Around School,” Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference, September 2017
  • “In Search of a More Perfect Union: When Rights of Religious Liberty and Anti-Discrimination Collide,” Seminar Chair, Arizona State Bar Convention, June 2017
  • “‘Appropriate Progress’—The Supreme Court Elevates the FAPE Standard in Special Education,” Arizona Charter Schools Association, Legal Week 2017, May 2017 
  • “MDRs, FBAs, BIPs, and Other Strange Creatures that Live in the World of Special Education Discipline,” Arizona Charter Schools Association, Legal Week 2017, May 2017
  • “Student Discipline Under the IDEA for Children with Disabilities,” OM Lunch and Learn Lecture Series, April 2017
  • “Child Abuse Reporting Obligations,” LRRC Arizona Law Day, Religious Institutions,  January 2017
  • “Student Searches in the Age of Smart Phones and iPads,” Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference, September 2016
  • “Cyberharassment: Problem Parishioners and the New School Bully,” The Church Network, Greater Phoenix Chapter, June 2015
  • Legal Perspectives in Education, 2013, 2008-2010, Introduction to Education Class, Mesa Community College
  • “FERPA 2012: Understanding the New Regulations and Guidance, and Navigating the Gray Areas,” Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference, September 2012
  • “Parliamentary Procedure and the Law,” Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference, September 2011
  • “Pupil Records: Rules, Responsibilities, and Requirements,” Lorman Webinar, October 2009
  • “Testing the Forgotten Prong of Tinker: Can One Student’s Right of Speech Trump Another’s Right to Be Left Alone?”Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference, September 2008 
  • “Fairness in the Law,” Mock Trial Presentation, Carol Rae Ranch Elementary, October 18, 2005
  • “Legal Issues for School Boards,” Valley Leadership Workshop for Maricopa County School Board Candidates, May 18, 2005
  • “Discipline of Students with Special Needs in Arizona,” Professional Education Seminar, Lorman Educational Services, November 18, 2004
  • “Student Discipline and FERPA Compliance,” Education Leadership Course, Northern Arizona University, November 10, 2004
  • “Religion and Schools: The Latest Issues,” Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference, September 2004
  • “School Law in Arizona,” Professional Education Seminar, National Business Institute, April 14, 2004
  • “Arizona Special Education Law,” Professional Education Seminar, National Business Institute, January 16, 2004
  • “Privacy Concerns in the Educational Setting,” Professional Education Seminar, Lorman Educational Services, November 12, 2003
  • “Public Records Law and Family Education Rights and Privacy Act,” Training Seminar, School District Seminar, October 23, 2003
  • “Education and the Media—Opposing Interests or Is There Common Ground,” Panel Discussion, Education and the Media Forum, Fall 2003 
  • “Student Discipline for Off-Campus Activities,” Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference, September 2003 
  • “Discipline of Students with Special Needs in Arizona,” Professional Education Seminar, Lorman Educational Services,  June 3, 2003
  • “Child Abuse Reporting Obligations for School Personnel,” Training Seminar, School District Seminar, February 20, 2003
  • “Arizona Open Meeting Law,” Training Seminar, School District Seminar, January 2003
  • “Practical Tips for Dealing with the Legalities of Student Discipline,” Training Seminar, School District Seminar, March 21, 2002