People: Mary Kay Klimesh, Partner

Photo of Mary Kay Klimesh, Partner

Mary Kay Klimesh

Partner

Chicago
Direct: (312) 460-5985
Fax: (312) 460-7985
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Mary Kay Klimesh is a partner in Seyfarth Shaw’s Chicago office.  She engages in a broad-based practice concentrating in education law at the pre-school through higher education levels in both the public and private sectors.  Ms. Klimesh provides in-depth assistance and counseling on matters such as board governance; regulatory compliance, including Title IX and FERPA compliance; policy development; due process issues in the academic setting; faculty contract and employment decisions; employee discipline, evaluation and training; investigation of employee misconduct; employee and student civil rights and discrimination issues, including representation of educational entities in response to the investigation of complaints by the DOE Office of Civil Rights; accommodation of employees and students with disabilities under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and IDEIA; intergovernmental and joint agreements by and between educational entities; and obligations under the Illinois Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Ms. Klimesh has contributed to publications and has made presentations on education sector legal issues for organizations including the American Bar Association, the National Council of School Attorneys, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Council of School Attorneys, the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, and the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

Ms. Klimesh is the past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law.  She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and is a past Chair of the Education Law Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Mary Kay Klimesh is a partner in Seyfarth Shaw’s Chicago office.  She engages in a broad-based practice concentrating in education law at the pre-school through higher education levels in both the public and private sectors.  Ms. Klimesh provides in-depth assistance and counseling on matters such as board governance; regulatory compliance, including Title IX and FERPA compliance; policy development; due process issues in the academic setting; faculty contract and employment decisions; employee discipline, evaluation and training; investigation of employee misconduct; employee and student civil rights and discrimination issues, including representation of educational entities in response to the investigation of complaints by the DOE Office of Civil Rights; accommodation of employees and students with disabilities under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and IDEIA; intergovernmental and joint agreements by and between educational entities; and obligations under the Illinois Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Ms. Klimesh has contributed to publications and has made presentations on education sector legal issues for organizations including the American Bar Association, the National Council of School Attorneys, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Council of School Attorneys, the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, and the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

Ms. Klimesh is the past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law.  She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Illinois Council of School Attorneys and is a past Chair of the Education Law Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Education

  • J.D., University of Iowa College of Law (1986)
    Recipient of Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyer’s Prize for Excellence in Advocacy
  • B.A., Trinity University (1977)

Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Colorado
  • Texas

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Seventh Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the Central and Northern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Affiliations

  • American Bar Association (Member)
  • American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law (Member)
  • Illinois State Bar Association (Member)
  • National Council of School Attorneys (Member)
  • Illinois Council of School Attorneys (Member)

Presentations

  • “Website Accessibility,” 2017 School Law Seminar, presented by the National Council of School Attorneys (March 24, 2017)
  • "Public Sector and the FLSA: New Compensation Regulations and Implications," Webinar, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (September 28, 2016) (Co-Presenter)
  • “Bullying in School:  Issues and Strategies,”  American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law Webinar (October 26, 2016) (Co-Panelist)
  • “Legal Issues in Higher Education:  Annual Review of Court and Administrative Developments,” 43rd Annual Conference of the National Center for the Study of Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions (April 5, 2016) (Co-Panelist)
  • “When Good Kids (or Bad Kids) Do Bad Things: Understanding the Student Discipline Process in Public Schools,” Chicago Bar Association Administrative Law Committee (May 15, 2015) (Co-Presenter)
  • “Cyberbullying - Understanding Constitutional Obligations and Assessing Responsiveness and Disciplinary Measures” and “Bullying - What Is It and What Is the District’s Required Response,” Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and Northeastern Illinois University’s Cyberbullying/Bullying Network and Conference (April 20, 2015) (Co-Presenter)
  • “Current Legal Issues in Special Education Panel,” Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education Sixteenth Annual Winter Conference (February 2015) (Co-Panelist) 
  • “Your Institution’s DNA:  Does My Institution Satisfy the Requirements of the Religious Exemptions? Or What Do You Mean I Am Not Exempt?,” Council for Christian Colleges & Universities Attorneys Conference (October 2014) (Co-Panelist)
  • “Legal Aspects for Evaluation of Staff in a Student Growth World,” Key-Note Speaker for the 12th Annual Leadership Institute of the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (July 28, 2013)
  • “Navigating a Charter School’s Legal Obligations When Disciplining Special Education Students,” Co-Panelist, Illinois Network of Charter Schools 2013 Statewide Charter School Conference (December 3, 2013)
  • “Job Descriptions -- So Many Reasons to Love Them,” Co-Presenter at the Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards/Illinois Association of School Administrators/Illinois Association of School Business Officials (November 17, 2012)
  • “Are You Entitled to Immunity?” Annual Conference of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys (November 16, 2012)
  • Factoring Growth Models Into Administrator and Teacher Performance Evaluations,”Henderson/Mercer/Warren Counties Regional Office of Education (January 13, 2012), North Cook Regional Office of Education (January 30, 2012), Illinois Association of School Administrators (September 18, 2012)
  • “Overview of Special Education Laws and Obligations,” Co-Presenter at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (June 18, 2012)
  • “A Primer on Special Education Law,”  Education Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association (May 14, 2012)
  • “How to Ensure Smooth Sailing For Students With Disabilities In Your Charter School,” Co-Presenter, Illinois Network of Charter Schools Conference (April 11, 2011)
  • “The Illinois Freedom of Information Act and the Illinois Open Meetings Act,” Illinois Network of Charter Schools (March 2011)
  • “Understanding the New ADA Title II Regulations,” Joint Conference-Illinois Association of School Boards/Illinois Association of School Administrators/Illinois Association of School Business Officials (November 19, 2010)
  • “Transition Planning --  A Legal Review,” Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (September, 2010)
  • “The Path to Litigation Success in Student Related Matters:  How to Navigate the Trap of Discovery,”  Co-Presenter for the National Council of School Attorneys (April, 2010)
  • “Stepping into a New Era of Open Records in Illinois:  Put Your Best Foot Forward,” Illinois Public Employers Labor Relations Association (February 2010)
  • “Employment Law Update,” Illinois State Bar Association (February 2010)
  • “The Impact of Workplace Class Action Litigation Trends on the Higher Education Section,” Education Law Association (November 2008)
  • “Investigating and Addressing Complaints of Employee Misconduct,” Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators (October 2008)
  • “Title II:  Americans With Disabilities Act,” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (October 2007)
  • “Blogs, MySpace and Facebook:  A New ERA in Information Technology,” Illinois Association of School, College and University Staffing (January 2007)
  • “What If…?  The Basics of Emergency Contingency Planning,” Illinois Association of School Boards/Illinois Association of School Administrators/Illinois Association of School Business Officials Annual Conference (November 2005)
  • “The Limitation of Faculty Tenure, Including Discipline and Dismissal,” National Association of Schools of Theatre National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky (April 2005)
  • “Public Education: Process & Practice for Providing Successful Counsel,” Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (October 2004)
  • “Special Education Law Update,” Illinois State Bar Association’s School Law Update (February 2004)
  • “Advising School Clients on New and Ongoing Compliance Issues,” Panelist for the Illinois Council of School Attorneys’ Update on School Law (November 2003)
  • “Prayer - Complying with the U.S. Department of Education’s Guidance,” Illinois Association of School Boards - Illinois Association of School Administrators - Illinois Association of School Business Officials’ 71st Joint Annual Conference (November 2003)

Publications