Orrick Public Policy Team Secures Washington State Supreme Court Win for Charter Public Schools


Siding with our Public Policy practice group, the Washington State Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the state’s charter public schools. The 6-3 ruling agreed with our core argument that the charter schools are consistent with state law and the state’s legislative goal to “provide all students the opportunity to obtain knowledge and skills essential to their success.” 

Led by partner Rob McKenna and associate Adam Tabor, our team represented a large group of charter public school students and parents, all of Washington’s existing charter public schools and the Washington State Charter Schools Association. In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down an earlier voter-approved version of the Washington Charter School Act, in a case handled for the charter schools by a different law firm. Orrick then got involved on behalf of the Washington charter school community, which includes more than 3,000 students enrolled in the state’s 12 existing charter schools that were threatened with closure.

The outcome could serve as precedent for defending other charter school laws across the country. According to Renita Thukral, the Senior National Legal Advisor for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, this “resounding litigation win” is “a victory for the families and students across Washington state—and across the country.”

In addition to Rob and Adam, our team included former partner Brian Moran, Melanie Phillips, Leslie Peterson, Miwako Burleigh, and Beth Morey.