Lawrence M. Schoenke has more than 25 years of experience in education law and has represented over 200 school districts, community college districts, and county offices of education. Mr. Schoenke focuses his practice on certificated and classified employment matters and related mandate litigation. 

Mr. Schoenke recently retired from the San Diego Unified School District, where he served as General Counsel. He is also a Past President of the California Council of School Attorneys (1997).

Representative Matters

  • Hildebrandt v. St. Helena Unified Sch. Dist., (2009) 172 Cal. App. 4th 334

Mr. Schoenke represented the school district in a certificated layoff case from the first administrative proceeding to the final appellate ruling.  The Court of Appeal’s holding established in case law what had long been advised in the school law field: a part-time certificated employee did not have the right to displace (or “bump”) a junior full-time certificated employee if the Governing Board determined that the position needed to be occupied by a full-time person.  Here, a senior part-time psychologist could not require the District to lay off a full-time psychologist who had been hired specifically for the full-time position.

  • Summerfield v. Windsor Unified Sch. Dist., (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 1026, 116 Cal.Rptr.2d 233

Mr. Schoenke represented the school district in Superior Court and the Court of Appeal in an attempt by a provisionally credentialed teacher to obtain permanent status prematurely. The teacher in this matter had an emergency credential for a number of years prior to obtaining her preliminary credential. She was non-reelected prior to March 15 of the first year of service under a provisional credential. She maintained the two-year probationary period had been served, due to her employment under an emergency credential for two years before that. The courts ruled otherwise and upheld the release under Education Code sections 44911 and 44929.21(b).

Practice Areas

Practice Areas


J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law
B.A., San Francisco State University


  • 1980, California
    1989, Oregon
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
    U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
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