Eric R. Herlan


Eric R. Herlan


Phone: 207.253.0501 Fax: 207.772.3627 Email:

84 Marginal Way, Suite 600 Portland, ME 04101-2480

Assistant: Mary Kennedy Email:


For more than 30 years, Eric Herlan has been representing public school districts on a wide variety of legal issues, focusing on both special education and general school law questions.

Eric gives clients practical guidance on how to resolve problems consistent with the law, often coming up with creative solutions to help them achieve their goals, even with the most complicated legal issues.  He has represented Maine and New Hampshire school districts in more than 100 special education due process hearings, in addition to state complaint investigations, human rights proceedings, and the federal Office for Civil Rights investigations. Eric has also practiced in both federal and state courts, including many cases before the First Circuit Court of Appeals as well as the U.S. District Court, and he has also appeared before the Maine Supreme Court.

In addition to his legal practice, Eric regularly lectures on school law topics in Maine, New Hampshire, and across the country to a wide variety of audiences – His presentations are energetic and entertaining, whether in front of school staff in a local school district or in front of attorneys at a national conference.

Eric publishes frequently on special education and other school law topics. He has written and published Maine Special Education Law (2nd edition, 2020), the premier book on special education in Maine. He co-authored New Hampshire Special Education Law (1st edition, 2018) and is a contributing author to Maine School Law (6th Edition 2018).  He has been a regular contributor to the School Law Advisory and served as its editor for many years. He has written for the Maine Law Review and was its editor in chief while in law school. Eric has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, a guide to leading lawyers in the country, and in the New England Super Lawyers in the category of Education Law every year since 2010.

Eric grew up in Winter Harbor, Maine, and he is a proud graduate of Sumner Memorial High School. He has dedicated time to giving back to the community, serving as past Senior Wardens for both Trinity Episcopal Church in Portland and St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Ellsworth.


University of Maine School of Law, J.D., 1987

Columbia University, Ph. D., 1987

University of Maine at Orono, B.A., 1980


New England Super Lawyers, School & Education 2010-2022

Best Lawyers USA, Education Law 2008-2024

Martindale Hubbell, BV Distinguished


Maine Bar Association

Maine Council of School Board Attorneys

National Council of School Board Attorneys

New Hampshire Bar Association

New Hampshire Council of School Attorneys

Community/Public Service

Trinity Episcopal Church, Portland, ME
Past Senior Warden

St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Ellsworth, ME
Past Senior Warden

Past Presentations


Changes in School Law on Serving 3 to 5-Year-Old Students

2024 Maine Superintendents Conference

From April 2, 2024 8:00 am

Maine School Law for School, District and Special Education Administrative Assistants and Secretaries

From December 1, 2023 9:00 am

Spinning the Hits! Counting Down the Decade’s Top 10 Case Rulings in Special Education!

From November 1, 2023 12:00 pm

504 & Your School: Everything You Need to Know! – ZOOM Edition

From October 4, 2023 9:00 am

The Tangled Web of Student Discipline

From July 10, 2023 9:00 am

2023 Maine Special Education School Law Summer Institute (Virtual!)

This program has been designed with busy educators in mind. Participants will cover materials that would traditionally be taught in a semester-long course.

From May 25, 2023 9:00 am

Return to CHAOS!

From December 16, 2022 9:00 am

Blast Off! A Countdown of 2022’s Top Issues in Special Education!

From July 11, 2022 1:00 pm

2022 Maine Special Education School Law Summer Institute (Virtual!)

From May 10, 2022 9:00 am

The Reading Wars: Dyslexia Disputes and Delivering FAPE – NH

From March 24, 2022 9:00 am

Turf Wars! Who is responsible for delivering special education?

From November 4, 2021 12:00 pm

504 & Your School: Everything You Need to Know! Back by Popular Demand!

From September 16, 2021 9:30 am

Physical Restraint and Seclusion: Maine’s new law and Chapter 33 – ZOOM Edition

From July 12, 2021 1:00 pm

2021 Maine Special Education School Law Institute (Virtual!)

We are taking our Institute virtual again for 2021 using Zoom, a cloud based video conferencing service. This program has been designed with busy educators in mind.

From May 18, 2021 9:00 am

Leaving High School: Long Last Looks Must End… New Hampshire

From April 21, 2021 9:00 am

Don’t be ”Dazed and Confused” by the New Discipline Law in New Hampshire

From February 26, 2021 9:00 am

Leaving High School: Long Last Looks Must End

From February 10, 2021 12:00 pm

Better Get A Bigger Boat! How Special Ed Swallowed Regular Ed Discipline (and what to do about it)

From October 30, 2020 8:30 am

47th Annual Maine School Management Association Conference

From July 14, 2020 12:00 pm

2020 Virtual Maine Special Education Institute

From March 13, 2020 12:00 pm

Back By Popular Demand! Section 504: A Deep Dive

From November 22, 2019 12:00 pm

BALANCING ACT! Making the Laws Fit for Students with Behavior Challenges

From November 5, 2019 12:00 pm

504 & Your School: Everything You Need to Know!

From October 11, 2019 12:00 pm

Future Ready Conference, Bedford NH School District

From September 13, 2019 12:00 pm

The Dam Breaks: New Laws Flood Schools

From August 7, 2019 12:00 pm

2019 New Hampshire Principals Academy

From July 9, 2019 12:00 pm

2019 Maine Special Education Law Institute

From May 21, 2019 12:00 pm

Section 504: A Deep Dive!

From May 2, 2019 12:00 pm

Breaking Bad! Responding to Disruptive and Aggressive Students in School

From April 12, 2019 9:00 am

504 Conference (Freeport)

From April 5, 2019 9:00 am

504 Conference (Bangor)

From January 17, 2019 9:00 am

A.W.O.L.! Confronting Student Non Attendance in the World of Special Education

From July 17, 2018 9:00 am

2018 Maine Special Education Law Institute

From May 25, 2018 9:00 am

NH Special Education Summit – Finding FAPE after Endrew F.

From July 11, 2017 9:00 am

2017 Maine Special Education Law Institute

From December 2, 2016 12:00 pm

Making the Grade in Special Education: Measuring Success, Eligibility, and the Delivery of FAPE in a Standards World

From July 26, 2016 12:00 pm

2016 Maine School Law Summer Institute

From July 12, 2016 12:00 am

2016 Maine Special Education Law Institute

From March 25, 2016 12:00 pm

Goodbye NCLB…Hello Every Student Succeeds Act

From December 4, 2015 12:00 pm

The Worst in Special Education – Presented in Partnership with MADSEC