Matt concentrates his practice in labor and employment, professional liability, general liability, contract drafting and disputes, and administrative law. He devotes a considerable portion of his practice to serving clients in the nonprofit and education communities.
Serving as general counsel for several nonprofits, Matt provides advice on incorporation, governance, employment, contracts and contract disputes, liability, and regulatory compliance, as well as representation before state administrative agencies and state/federal courts.
Matt also maintains a significant education law practice, advising school boards and administrators on a myriad of education law issues, including special education, employment, student/staff discipline, government relations, contract law and constitutional law. In addition to representing numerous schools in a variety of matters before state administrative agencies and state/federal courts, Matt also serves as outside general counsel to the Massachusetts Charter Public Schools Association and the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. He serves on the National Litigation Council for the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools and regularly presents substantive seminars on legal issues affecting charter schools.
Prior to law school, Matt taught 7th and 8th Grade in the North Carolina public schools for four years and has an Advanced Competencies Teaching License for Social Studies Education (Grades 6–12).
- Persuaded the Rhode Island Supreme Court to order a local school district to reimburse the firm’s client, a local independent public charter school, for tuition payments the district had wrongfully withheld under a mistaken interpretation of state law.
- Obtained a Superior Court Judgment in favor of a career and technical school regarding school funding.
- Successfully defended in administrative appeals two schools facing closure by the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
- Successfully defended a local education agency in an administrative hearing regarding school choice.
- Successfully defended a local education agency in an administrative hearing regarding school funding.
- Successfully defended local education agencies in special education due process hearings.
- Successfully defended local education agencies and nonprofits before the Department of Labor and Training.
- Successfully defended schools and nonprofit organizations in administrative hearings before the Commission for Human Rights.
- He served as one of the primary drafters of the current Rhode Island Charter Public Schools Act.
- Contributed to revisions to the Rhode Island Regulations Governing the Education of Children with Disabilities, current technical education.
- Contributed to the RI regulations governing career and technical education.
- Obtained a $1.2 million settlement on behalf of a client who suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries while being transported in a wheelchair van to a medical appointment.
- Obtained a $1,300,000 jury verdict for Plaintiffs in a wrongful death case against a municipality.
- "Lunch With Legends" article series published by the Rhode Island Bar Journal, highlighting senior members of the Rhode Island bar
- "Results Above Rights: The No Child Left Behind Act's Insidious Effect on Students with Disabilities," 10 Roger Williams University Law Review 249
- “Personnel Practices” article series published by the Rhode Island Small Business Journal highlighting legal issues facing Rhode Island employers
- “The Education Reform Primer” a blog exploring the history of public school education in America
- Various articles in the Barton Gilman School Law Bulletin, including topics: Massachusetts leave laws for victims of domestic abuse, the Rhode Island school funding formula, approval of single-gender extracurricular school events in Rhode Island, social media privacy for Rhode Island employees, and the verification requirements of student identification.
Awards and Honors
- Best Lawyers in America in Education Law (2018-2019)
- Rhode Island Monthly Excellence in the Law (2019)
- Wall of Honor, East Greenwich High School (2018)
- Rhode Island Super Lawyer (2018)
- Rhode Island Super Lawyers Rising Star (2011–2015)
- Mortar Board Award for advocacy efforts on behalf of the school community by the Segue Institute for Learning (2013)
- 40 Under Forty by Providence Business News (2011)
Matt regularly presents substantive seminars on a variety of education, employment and liability issues. A sampling recent seminars include:
- Intellectual Property Considerations for Charter Schools: Tips, Traps, and Mishaps
- Employment Law Update for Massachusetts Charter Schools
- Legal Considerations for Business Owners
- The Hiring Process: Do’s and Don’ts
- Managing (Insurable) Claims Asserted Against Your School or Network: Tips, Traps, and a Roadmap
- Personnel Practices
- Assisting RI Charter Schools with Their Legal Issues
- Newfangled and Old-Fashioned Legal Issues Facing Non-Profit Employers
- Top Ten Best Practices for Non-Profit Employers
- Addressing Legal Issues Employers Face When Confronted with Sick, Injured, or Disabled Employees
- Negligence in Schools: Lawsuits and Liability
- Legal & Ethical Obligations of Charter School Governing Bodies
Matt was law clerk to the Honorable George E. Healy Jr., Chief Judge, Rhode Island Workers’ Compensation Court, 2005–2006.
Professional and Civic Affiliations
- Member, East Greenwich School Committee (elected 2016)
- Advisory Board, Roger Williams University School of Education
- Graduate, 2013 Leadership Rhode Island Iota II class
- Community Advisory Board, United Way of Rhode Island (2012-2018)
- Editorial Board, Rhode Island Bar Journal
- Board of Directors, Avenger Football Alumni Association (2003 – Present)
- Advisory Board, Roger Williams University Pro Bono Collaborative (2008-2014)
- Board of Directors, Fund for Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP) (2011–2014)
- Delegate, Rhode Island Bar Association House of Delegates (2011–2012)
- Mentor, Year Up Providence (2010–2011)
- Board of Directors and Executive Board (2006–2013), The Manton Avenue Project
- Board of Directors, Blackstone Academy Charter School (2007)
- Board of Directors, St. Thomas More Society (2005–2006)
- Member, Rhode Island Bar Association Member, Massachusetts Bar Association