James O’Shaughnessy focuses his practice on the representation of public school districts, school boards, and other educational institutions, including charter schools and private schools. As leader of the firm’s New Hampshire school law group, Jim’s practice involves the full spectrum of school law matters, including board representation and governance, school district and SAU organization and budgets, cooperative and regional school district issues, school district annual meetings, policymaking, school safety, student discipline, Right to Know law, crisis management (assisting many districts navigate COVID-19), rights of students and school employees, teacher evaluations, staff misconduct investigations, labor relations and collective bargaining, and compliance with myriad state and federal laws and regulations.
Jim regularly represents public employers at the bargaining table, in grievance arbitration proceedings and mediations, in state court proceedings, and before numerous state administrative agencies. Jim also represents interstate NH-VT school districts, which involves the interpretation and application of the NH-VT Interstate Compact, RSA 200-B.
With a sophisticated understanding of the school law landscape, Jim develops and leads customized seminars and trainings on a variety of topics, and is one of the creative forces behind the firm’s annual New Hampshire Principals Academy for school administrators.
In 2019, Jim was elected to serve a two-year term as the Chair of the New Hampshire Council of School Attorneys and was appointed to serve on the New Hampshire Legislative Commission to Study Cooperative School District Issues. Jim has been named by Best Lawyers USA in Employment Law – Management, Employment Law – Management, and Education Law, as well as a “Rising Star” in Super Lawyers in Education Law. Jim is a 2019 graduate of Leadership New Hampshire.
In his free time, Jim enjoys cooking, playing a variety of musical instruments, mountain biking, hiking, spending time with his family outdoors, practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and reading. He also serves on the board of Concord Northeast Baseball and Softball.
University of New Hampshire School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
Hamilton College, B.A.
Best Lawyers, Employment Law – Management, 2021-2024, Labor Law – Management 2022-2024, Education Law (2021-2024)
Super Lawyers, Rising Star, Education Law 2019-2020
Representative Clients & Matters
- Baer v. N.H. Dep’t of Educ.
- Avery v. N.H. Dep’t of Educ
- Appeal of Michael Silverstein
- Taylor v. SAU 55
- Assisted cooperative school districts with amendments to their articles of agreement and apportionment formulas.
- Assisted school districts in separating fro school administrative units and forming new school administrative units.
- Defended school districts in court over challenges to bond vote procedure.
- Defended school district in court regarding default budget calculation methodology.
- Successfully negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements.
- Successfully defended school districts in unfair labor practice matters before the NH PELRB.
- Assisted school districts before the State Board of Education on a variety of matters, including school reassignment requests, appeals of local school board decisions, student bullying and cyberbullying appeals, and homeless and residency appeals.
- Negotiated tuition contracts between school districts and assisted school districts with the process for amending their AREA agreement.
- Prosecuted numerous school employee and teacher disciplinary matters before local school boards and arbitrators throughout the state.
Contributing Author, New Hampshire School Law, 1st Edition (2019) Revised (2020)
Is Cyber Bullying the next Columbine: Can New Hampshire Schools Prevent Cyber-Bullying and Avoid Liability, New Hampshire Bar Journal (Spring 2011)
New Hampshire Bar Association Labor & Employment and Municipal Sections
New Hampshire Council of School Attorneys
National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys
The Alliance of Public Charter School Attorneys
Concord Northeast Baseball and Softball
From August 9, 2023 8:00 am
5th Annual New Hampshire Principals Academy
From October 12, 2022 9:00 am
2022 Bradley F. Kidder Law Conference
From August 17, 2021 9:00 am
Don’t be “Dazed and Confused” by the New Discipline Law in NH
The law that everyone should be talking about! The extensive 2020 rewrite of the NH student discipline laws went into effect on July 1, 2021.
From August 5, 2021 9:00 am
Another Brick in the Wall?
With the passing of HB 2, many are wondering did the state government just put up another “brick in the wall” of public education?
From March 11, 2021 12:00 pm
Vaccines, Quarantines, and Compliance: Being an Employer in the Spring of 2021 – New Hampshire
From December 9, 2020 12:00 pm
2020 HR Year in Review and a Look Ahead at 2021
From October 7, 2020 12:00 pm
2020 Bradley F. Kidder Law Conference
From June 10, 2020 8:30 am
HR in the Time of COVID-19
From March 11, 2020 9:00 am
Assessing and Resolving Workplace Conflict and Allegations
From October 2, 2019 12:00 pm
N.H. Council of School Attorneys Annual Bradley F. Kidder Education Law Conference
From August 7, 2019 12:00 pm
2019 New Hampshire Principals Academy
From March 20, 2019 8:00 am
Dealing with Reasonable Accommodation: What to do when an Employee Needs or Requests an Accommodation
From December 5, 2018 8:00 am
Looking Back at 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019
From October 3, 2018 9:00 am
2018 Bradley F. Kidder Educational Law Conference
From September 12, 2018 12:00 pm
Workplace Investigations: Handling Employee Complaints
From June 6, 2018 8:00 am
Violence in the Workplace: Handling Threats, Identifying Risks, and Recommended Policies
From March 14, 2018 12:00 pm
Employer Rights when Employees Speak Out: How to Handle Employee Speech and Association Issues Inside and Outside the Workplace
From September 7, 2017 12:00 am