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).
- 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.
- Obtained a Superior Court Judgment in favor of a career and technical school regarding school funding.
- 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 $1,300,000 jury verdict for Plaintiffs in a wrongful death case against a municipality.
With Legends" article series published by the Rhode Island Bar Journal, highlighting senior members of the Rhode
Above Rights: The No Child Left Behind Act's Insidious Effect on Students with
Disabilities," 10 Roger Williams
University Law Review 249
Practices” article series published by the Rhode
Island Small Business Journal highlighting legal issues facing Rhode Island
Education Reform Primer” a blog exploring the history of public school
education in America
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 and Honors
- Best Lawyers in America in Education Law (2018-2019)
- Rhode Island Monthly Excellence in the Law (2019)
- Wall of Honor, East Greenwich High School
Island Super Lawyer (2018)
Island Super Lawyers Rising Star
Board Award for advocacy efforts on behalf of the school community by the Segue
Institute for Learning (2013)
Under Forty by Providence Business
regularly presents substantive seminars on a variety of education, employment
and liability issues. A sampling recent seminars include:
Property Considerations for Charter Schools: Tips, Traps, and Mishaps
Law Update for Massachusetts Charter Schools
Considerations for Business Owners
Hiring Process: Do’s and Don’ts
(Insurable) Claims Asserted Against Your School or Network: Tips, Traps, and a
RI Charter Schools with Their Legal Issues
and Old-Fashioned Legal Issues Facing Non-Profit Employers
Ten Best Practices for Non-Profit Employers
Legal Issues Employers Face When Confronted with Sick, Injured, or Disabled
in Schools: Lawsuits and Liability
& Ethical Obligations of Charter School Governing Bodies
was law clerk to the Honorable George E. Healy Jr., Chief Judge, Rhode Island
Workers’ Compensation Court, 2005–2006.
Professional and Civic Affiliations
- Member, East Greenwich School Committee
- Advisory Board, Roger Williams University
School of Education
- Graduate, 2013 Leadership Rhode Island Iota
- Community Advisory Board, United Way of
Rhode Island (2012-2018)
- Editorial Board, Rhode Island Bar Journal
- Board of Directors, Avenger Football Alumni
Association (2003 – Present)
- Advisory Board, Roger Williams University
Pro Bono Collaborative (2008-2014)
- 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
- Member, Rhode Island Bar Association
Member, Massachusetts Bar Association