Howard Seufer, Jr. has spent his professional life working with public school leaders to solve public school problems and improve public education in compliance with state and federal school laws.
A partner in the regional commercial, energy and defense law firm of Bowles Rice LLP headquartered in Charleston, West Virginia, Howard has advised and represented all 55 of West Virginia’s county boards of education, all of its regional education service agencies, the West Virginia School Board Association and other public and higher education institutions. He has appeared on behalf of public education interests in dozens of appeals in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
Education leaders and policymakers regularly seek his guidance, often on high-stakes legal issues.
Howard chairs the Bowles Rice Education Law Group, ranked #1 in West Virginia School Law by The Best Lawyers in America® and recognized as "Top Tier" in West Virginia for Education Law by U.S. News & World Report's 2016 Best Law Firms. For many years, Best Lawyers in America has designated him as a Best Lawyer in school law, most recently as its 2016 Lawyer of the Year for Education Law in southern West Virginia.
He is a co-founder of the Signature Series Workshops, providing focused legal education to public school leaders in interactive small group settings. A trained facilitator, Howard is frequently engaged as a presenter and panelist on school law issues, emphasizing preventive legal advice and practical action steps for education officials and administrators. He is a longtime member of the National Council of School Attorneys, the Education Law Association and the National Association of College and University Attorneys.
Upon graduation from high school in Williamstown, West Virginia, Howard attended Michigan State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree, with High Honors, in political science. He earned his J.D. degree from the West Virginia University College of Law, where he was a member of the National Moot Court Team, chosen for the Order of Barristers and graduated Order of the Coif. He entered the private practice of law after clerking for two years for Hon. John A. Field, Jr. of the United States Court of Appels for the Fourth Circuit.
Howard is an emeritus director and past chair of the nation’s first statewide education fund, The Education Alliance, and past chair of SW Resources, a West Virginia nonprofit focused on the vocational needs of adults with disabilities. His current community service includes work as a board member and officer of the West Virginia Mansion Preservation Foundation.
Howard has served West Virginia University as a member of the College of Law Visiting Committee and as chair of the former Social Justice Visiting Committee. He now co-chairs the WVU Diversity Visiting Committee, which monitors and provides feedback to the University’s diversity efforts.
Board of Education of the County of Wood v. Enoch (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1992) — The Enoch decision established standards by which applicants for teaching positions are to be judged and the process for filling extended year teaching assignments.
Boner v. Kanawha County Board of Education (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1996) — In this opinion, the Supreme Court of Appeals established rules governing the replacement of regular fulltime teachers with independent contractors.
Flint v. Harrison County Board of Education (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1999) — The opinion in this case established standards for determining school service employees'' claims for equal pay under West Virginia''s "uniformity"statute.
Pendleton Citizens for Community Schools v. Marockie (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1998) — The Court''s opinion upholds standards govenring the State''s funding of rural school consolidation.
Alderson v. Pocahontas County Board of Education (West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 2009) — The State Supreme Court''''s decision in this case established the extent of and limits upon public school employees'''' right to free speech.