Center for Legal & Corporate Services

OEA has on staff three full-time attorneys with experience in labor and school law.

The OEA Center for Legal and Corporate Services provides legal services to members and the association. A staff of three attorneys, a paralegal and a support staff person serve members directly, coordinate NEA benefits related to legal services and conducts intake for the Personal Legal Services Program (PLSP).

Job Related Legal Services

Active OEA/NEA members are eligible for free legal services in job related matters through the Kate Frank/DuShane Legal Defense fund. This program provides legal services for members who have had adverse employment actions taken against them or who have suffered legally actionable harm in the workplace, such as deprivation of statutory and constitutional rights. OEA also provides limited initial assistance to members who are the target of a criminal investigation or who have been criminally charged for allegations occurring during the course of educational employment activities. Additional benefits relating to criminal allegations may also be available through the Education Employees Liability Insurance Policy. Members need to contact the Advocacy Specialist in their geographic region to access this program.

Legal Defense In Civil And Criminal Actions

As a benefit of membership in OEA/NEA members are provided, without additional charge, $1,000,000 liability insurance coverage for occurrences arising out of education related employment. Coverage is specifically detailed in the policy which is included with membership materials. The insurance carrier provides legal defense as part of the coverage for members who have been named in a lawsuit arising out of educational employment activities. Additional copies of the policy coverage can be obtained by contacting the Center for Legal and Corporate Services. In addition to the $1,000,000 liability coverage, up to $35,000.00 in legal expense may be refunded to members who are the target of a criminal investigation or who have been criminally charged if the member is exonerated. The refund is contingent upon meeting certain criteria set forth in the coverage provisions of the policy. Members who have been threatened with legal or criminal action should contact the Center for Legal and Corporate Services for assistance in obtaining and presenting claim forms to the insurance carrier. Members should consult the policy or contact the Center for Legal and Corporate Services for specific questions relating to coverage.

Personal Legal Services

The Personal Legal Services Program provides legal assistance outside the scope of a member’s employment. As with the Attorney Referral Program, this program is available to the member, member’s spouse and dependent children. Whether the service is partially or fully funded, or is consultation only is contingent upon the guidelines of the program. To access the Personal Legal Services Program, the member must contact the Center for Legal and Corporate Services directly.

Attorney Referral For Non Job Related Matters

Members may also receive limited free legal advice and discounted legal services through the NEA Attorney Referral Program. This program allows members to have two free 30 minute consultations per membership year and a 30% discount off the attorney’s regular hourly rate for personal legal matters that are not job related. Contact the Center for Legal and Corporate Services for a list of attorneys in your area. Click here to learn more.

Contact OEA's Legal Staff

Richard Wilkinson

General Counsel

Tim Melton

Associate General Counsel

Heath Merchen

Associate General Counsel

Melanie Engh

Paralegal/Legal Assistant

Jaquita May

Legal Secretary