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Rhode Island School Law Attorney
Partner
Providence
P: 401.273.7171
F: 401.273.2904

Education

  • Roger Williams University School of Law (J.D., 2005) Roger Williams University Law Review; Notes and Comments Editor, 2004-05; Staff Member 2003-04
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro (M.Ed., 2002)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A., 1998)

Bar Admissions

  • Rhode Island, 2005
  • Massachusetts, 2005
  • Connecticut, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, Rhode Island

More About Matt

Matt played football and baseball under the tutelage of Rhode Island Interscholastic League Hall-of-Fame coach Art Kershaw.

Matthew R. Plain

Matt concentrates his practice in labor and employment, professional liability, general liability, contract drafting and disputes, and administrative law. He devotes a considerable portion of his practice to serving clients in the nonprofit and education communities.

Serving as general counsel for several nonprofits, Matt provides advice on incorporation, governance, employment, contracts and contract disputes, liability, and regulatory compliance, as well as representation before state administrative agencies and state/federal courts.

Matt also maintains a significant education law practice, advising school boards and administrators on a myriad of education law issues, including special education, employment, student/staff discipline, government relations, contract law and constitutional law. In addition to representing numerous schools in a variety of matters before state administrative agencies and state/federal courts, Matt also serves as outside general counsel to the Massachusetts Charter Public Schools Association and the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. He serves on the National Litigation Council for the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools and regularly presents substantive seminars on legal issues affecting charter schools.

Prior to law school, Matt taught 7th and 8th Grade in the North Carolina public schools for four years and has an Advanced Competencies Teaching License for Social Studies Education (Grades 6-12).
 

Representative Accomplishments

  • Persuaded the Rhode Island Supreme Court to order a local school district to reimburse the firm’s client, a local independent public charter school, for tuition payments the district had wrongfully withheld under a mistaken interpretation of state law.
  • Successfully defended in administrative appeals two schools facing closure by the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • Successfully defended a local education agency in an administrative hearing regarding school choice.
  • Successfully defended a local education agency in an administrative hearing regarding school funding.
  • Successfully defended local education agencies in special education due process hearings.
  • Successfully defended local education agencies and nonprofits before the Department of Labor and Training.
  • Successfully defended schools and nonprofit organizations in administrative hearings before the Commission for Human Rights.
  • He served as one of the primary drafters of the current Rhode Island Charter Public Schools Act.
  • Contributed to revisions to the Rhode Island Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities, current technical education.
  • Contributed to the RI regulations governing career and technical education.
  • Obtained a $1.2 million settlement on behalf of a client who suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries while being transported in a wheelchair van to a medical appointment.
  • Obtained a $200,000 settlement for Plaintiff in a case involving bad faith insurance practices.

 

Publications

  • "Lunch With Legends" article series published by the Rhode Island Bar Journal highlighting senior members of the Rhode Island bar
  • "Results Above Rights: The No Child Left Behind Act's Insidious Effect on Students with Disabilities," 10 Roger Williams University Law Review 249
  • “Personnel Practices” article series published by the Rhode Island Small Business Journal highlighting legal issues facing Rhode Island employers
  • Various articles in the Barton Gilman School Law Bulletin, including topics: Massachusetts leave laws for victims of domestic abuse, the Rhode Island school funding formula, approval of single-gender extracurricular school events in Rhode Island, social media privacy for Rhode Island employees, and the verification requirements of student identification.

 

Awards

  • Named by Super Lawyers five consecutive years as a Rhode Island Rising Star (2011-15)
  • Received the Mortar Board Award for advocacy efforts on behalf of the school community by the Segue Institute for Learning (2013)
  • Named a 40 Under Forty by the Providence Business News (2011)

 

Seminars

Matt regularly presents substantive seminars on a variety of education, employment and liability issues. A sampling recent seminars include:

  • Legal Considerations for Business Owners (November 2015)
  • The Hiring Process: Do’s and Don’ts (April 2015)
  • Managing (Insurable) Claims Asserted Against Your School or Network: Tips, Traps, and a Roadmap (April 2015)
  • Personnel Practices (March 2015)
  • Assisting RI Charter Schools with Their Legal Issues (March 2015)
  • Newfangled and Old-Fashioned Legal Issues Facing Non-Profit Employers (September 2014)
  • Top Ten Best Practices for Non-Profit Employers (June 2014)
  • Addressing Legal Issues Employers Face When Confronted with Sick, Injured, or Disabled Employees (October 2015)
  • Negligence in Schools- Lawsuits and Liability
  • Legal & Ethical Obligations of Charter School Governing Bodies (April 2014)

 

Clerkships

Matt was law clerk to the Honorable George E. Healy Jr., Chief Judge, Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, 2005-06.

 

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • Member, East Greenwich School Committee (elected 2016)
  • Community Advisory Board, United Way of Rhode Island
  • Editorial Board, Rhode Island Bar Journal
  • Board of Directors, Avenger Football Alumni Association
  • Advisory Board, Roger Williams University Pro Bono Collaborative
  • Graduate, 2013 Leadership Rhode Island Iota II class
  • Board of Directors, Fund for Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP) (2011-2014)
  • Delegate, Rhode Island Bar Association House of Delegates (2011-2012)
  • Mentor, Year Up Providence (2010-2011)
  • Board of Directors and Executive Board (2006-2013), The Manton Avenue Project
  • Board of Directors, Blackstone Academy Charter School (2007)
  • Board of Directors, St. Thomas More Society (2005-2006)
  • Member, Rhode Island Bar Association
  • Member, Massachusetts Bar Association