517.484.8000 | East Lansing
248.533.0741 | Novi
616.588.7700 | West Michigan

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Lisa L. Swem

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Jill Walker
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Lisa L. Swem has practiced school law with the Thrun Law Firm since 1988 and has devoted her law practice to servicing Michigan public educational institutions.  Lisa’s interest in school law began in high school when she served as the first student representative to the Board of Education of the Buchanan Community Schools.  Before law school, Lisa worked for five years as a social studies teacher at the secondary level. She also coached basketball and field hockey, and was a faculty advisor for many student activities.

While at Notre Dame Law School (J.D., 1988), Lisa was the student editor of the Journal of College and University Law and authored two articles for that publication, including “Due Process Rights in Student Disciplinary Matters.”  She earned a B.A. in history from Centre College (1979), an M.A.T. in social studies from Colgate University (1981), and completed over 30 hours of graduate courses in educational administration at the State University of New York.

Lisa practices general school law with special focus on labor and employment law, as well as legal issues related to civil rights, student discipline, special education, policy, curriculum, and athletics.  She represents school districts in state and federal courts, both at the trial and appellate levels.  In addition to arbitration and mediation proceedings, she practices before various administrative agencies including the Michigan Administrative Hearing System (State Tenure Commission, Employment Relations Commission, and Department of Education), the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

For over ten years, Lisa authored the “Law Column” for the monthly Bulletin published by the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.  She has written many articles on school law topics, including the chapter “Discipline of Students for Off-Campus Conduct” in the book School Violence: From Discipline to Due Process.  Lisa was elected President of the Michigan Council of School Attorneys and served on its Board of Directors for two terms.  She also served on the Board of Directors for the NSBA Council of School Attorneys.  Lisa has conducted hundreds of seminars and presentations on a variety of school law topics.

Lisa lives in East Lansing where she bravely flies her Notre Dame flag on football Saturdays.