Rachel A. Bruner

Member

Rachel focuses her practice on representing public school districts and has had the privilege of representing or presenting to the majority of North Dakota public school districts over her career. She has vast experience in all areas of education law, including teacher negotiations, contractual and non-contractual employment disputes, nonrenewals and discharges, constitutional violations, open meetings and records requests, investigating employee and student misconduct, discrimination and harassment, policy and handbook review, and student expulsions. Rachel is General Counsel for the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA). She also previously taught School Law as an adjunct graduate professor for the University of Mary and Introduction to School Law for the North Dakota School Business Manager Certification Program.

In addition to education law, Rachel is also experienced in general employment and labor law matters, representing both public and private entities in a wide array of employment-related issues and claims. Rachel routinely presents on school law and/or employment law to large and small groups.

Rachel is experienced in federal, state and tribal court, in the state administrative hearings process and in defending claims brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor and Human Rights, and Office for Civil Rights (OCR). She also has extensive experience before the North Dakota Education Factfinding Commission. Rachel’s knowledge and experience in the state gained the attention of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), who reached out to Rachel in 2017 and requested she author an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of NSBA.

Rachel is a life-long resident of North Dakota and has always remained active in her community. Having grown up in rural North Dakota and now a proud parent of two children attending school in Bismarck, Rachel understands issues unique to both small and larger school districts and communities. Rachel’s North Dakota public school education has served her well, which drives her career in representing many of the state’s public school districts.

Rachel is currently an active member of several legal organizations and has served on many boards and committees over her career. Most notably, in January 2019, Rachel accepted Governor Burgum’s appointment to sit on the North Dakota Parole Board and continues to appreciate that challenging role and responsibility.

Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • North Dakota, 2009

Court Admissions

  • United States District Court, District of North Dakota
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court
  • North Dakota Supreme Court and North Dakota District Courts

Education

  • Juris Doctor, with distinction – University of North Dakota, 2009
  • Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude – North Dakota State University, 2006

Professional Activities

  • North Dakota Parole Board Appointed by Governor Burgum, 2019-2022
  • Big Muddy Bar Association – President, 2017 | Vice President, 2016 | Secretary-Treasurer, 2015 | Officer at Large, 2014 | Member
  • State Bar Association of North Dakota – Continuing Legal Education Committee, 2012-present | Young Lawyers Section, Secretary-Treasurer, 2012-2013
  • Adjunct Graduate Professor, School Law, University of Mary, 2016-2017
  • North Dakota Defense Lawyers Association – President, 2013-2014 | Vice President, 2012-2013 | Member
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) – The Voice of the Defense Bar, Member
  • National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys
  • North Dakota Council of School Attorneys, Secretary
  • North Dakota School Boards Association Legal Services Affiliation
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Daniel L. Hovland, United States District Court, District of North Dakota, 2009-2011

Recognitions

  • Super Lawyers – Schools & Education, Employment & Labor, General Litigation, Great Plains Rising Star®, 2016-2019

Publications + Presentations

Presentations + Trainings

  • Transgender Student Rights; North Dakota School Boards Association – School Law Seminar, October 2019 (co-presented with Meredith Vukelic)
  • Legal Issues in High School Sports; North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NDIAAA), Mandan, North Dakota, September 2019
  • Q&A from Legal Perspective; EDU 915 Educational Ethics class, University of Mary, Bismarck, North Dakota, June 2019
  • School Attendance from a Legal Perspective; North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) Dropout Prevention & Reengagement Summit, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2018
  • Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment: Policy, Grievance Procedure, Your Responsibilities + More; School Staff Training, North Dakota public school district, September 2018
  • School Legal Issues in 2017-18; North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) & NDCEL Annual School Administrators’ Workshop, Bismarck, North Dakota, August 2018
  • Tips & Strategies from an Attorney Negotiator; North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) Negotiations Seminar, Bismarck, North Dakota, February 2018
  • Search & Seizure; North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) School Law Seminar, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2017
  • Trending Issues in North Dakota Education Law; NDCEL Annual Fall Conference, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2017
  • School Attendance from a Legal Perspective; North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) Dropout Prevention & Reengagement Summit, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2017
  • Legal Issues in High School Sports; North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NDIAA), Mandan, North Dakota, September 2017
  • School Legal Issues in 2016-17; North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) & NDCEL Annual School Administrators’ Workshop, Bismarck, North Dakota, August 2017
  • Before First Negotiations Meeting: Planning Tips and Strategies; North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) Negotiations Seminar, Bismarck, North Dakota, February 2017
  • Teacher Nonrenewal; co-presented with Meredith Vukelic; North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) Early Bird Session, Bismarck, North Dakota, February 2017
  • Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation; School Staff Training, North Dakota public school district, January 2017
  • Discrimination, Harassment & Retaliation (more detail); School Administrators, North Dakota public school district, January 2017
  • Laying the Groundwork for a Successful Nonrenewal or Discharge; co-presented with Meredith Vukelic; North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) School Law Seminar, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2016
  • Legal Issues in High School Sports; North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NDIAA), Mandan, North Dakota, September 2016
  • Fair Labor Standards Act New Overtime Rule; co-presented with Marcus L. Roehrich of North Dakota Department of Labor; North Dakota League of Cities Auditors Workshop, Bismarck, North Dakota, August 2016
  • Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment; Administrators and Supervisors Training, North Dakota public school district, August 2016
  • Transgender Students; Administrators and Supervisors Training, North Dakota public school district, August 2016
  • Negotiating for School Districts:  Lessons Learned from a Legal Perspective; North Dakota School Boards Association (NDSBA) Negotiations Seminar, Bismarck, North Dakota, February 2016
  • Open Records; Administrators and Supervisors Training, North Dakota public school district, December 2015
  • Employment Law; PSY 340 Industrial and Organizational Psychology class, University of Mary, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2015
  • Legal Issues in High School Sports; North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NDIAA), Mandan, North Dakota, September 2015
  • Search and Seizure; Administrators and Supervisors Training, North Dakota public school district, August 2015
  • Investigating Complaints of Harassment/Bullying; Administrators and Supervisors Training, North Dakota public school district, August 2015
  • Reoccurring issues in North Dakota; Administrators and Supervisors Training, North Dakota public school district, August 2015
  • Roles and Responsibilities of North Dakota Public School District Board Members; School Board and Administrators, North Dakota public school district board of education and administrators, September 2014
  • Sexual Harassment in Employment; School Board and Administrators, North Dakota public school district board of education and administrators, September 2014
  • Who’s Being Sued-Nationally:  A Focus on First and Fourth Amendment Cases; North Dakota Council of School Attorneys Annual Convention, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2012
  • Construction Contracts:  Who Protects the School?; North Dakota Council of School Attorneys Annual Convention, Bismarck, North Dakota, October 2012