Join us for ELA's 2021 "Hybrid" Annual Conference!

2021 Conf image hotel Zoom jpeg

67th Annual Conference: October 20-23, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas and virtually

This year ELA will hold its first "hybrid" event, in-person in San Antonio, Texas, and online.All in-person conference attendees will be required to attest either to being fully vaccinated against COVID or to having had a negative COVID test result within 72 hours before attending. Attendees also will be required to wear masks except while eating or while speaking as a presenter, and distancing guidelines will be followed.

ELA's Annual Conference attracts attorneys, professors, education leaders, graduate and law students, teachers, public officials, consultants, and others from the worlds of PreK-12 and higher education; public, private, and charter; colleges of education and law schools; plaintiff- and defense-side; and labor and management. It's an extraordinarily welcoming gathering, with the richness of programming ELA's diversity makes possible. Virtual participants will view featured programming synchronously and recordings of other sessions. Check out our program!


This year's Annual Conference will feature four keynote sessions:

  • A Thursday discussion of the history, legacy, and future of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, featuring Patty Rodriguez, teacher at Edgewood ISD and daughter of named plaintiff Demetrio Rodriguez; South San Antonio ISD Superintendent Marc Puig; University of Virginia Professor or Law and Professor of Education Kimberly Robinson; and University of South Carolina Professor of Law Derek Black;
  • A Friday update on civil rights in education by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, and the Chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of that Division, Shaheena Simons;
  • A Friday discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in NCAA v. Alston and other recent and potential legal developments related to collegiate athletics, featuring sports law and university attorney and former NCAA football coach Andrew Rhoden of the Stewart Law Group in Dallas, University of Kentucky General Counsel William Thro, and Superintendent of Wayland Public Schools in Massachusetts and former National Football League player Omar X. Easy.
  • Our annual Saturday Supreme Court Update, delivered again this year by Mark Walsh, education law reporter for Education Week, SCOTUSblog, and the American Bar Association's ABA Journal.


ELA's Annual Conference features an array of general and featured panel discussions, concurrent paper sessions, round tables, and poster sessions, on a range of substantive topics as well as on the teaching, study, and practice of education law. The basic schedule is as follows (all times are Central):

  • Wed., Oct. 20 Preconferences (in-person, times vary: see below); Special Welcome to First-Time Attendees and Students (synchronous, 4:30-5:00 pm) Welcome Reception (in-person, 5:00 - 6:30 pm)
  • Thurs., Oct. 21 (program starts at 8:30 am): Featured Panels (synchronous); Concurrent Paper Sessions (in-person, also prerecorded); lunch General Session on Rodriguez (synchronous); late afternoon Poster Sessions (in-person, also prerecorded) and Reception; Dinner Dine-arounds
  • Fri., Oct. 22 (program starts at 8:00 am): Featured Panels (synchronous); Concurrent Paper Sessions (in-person, also prerecorded); General Sessions on U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Update (synchronous, mid-morning), ELA Business and Awards (synchronous lunch), and NCAA v. Alston (synchronous, mid-afternoon)
  • Sat., Oct. 23 (Round Tables start at 8:00 am, program ends at noon): Round Table Sessions (in-person); Supreme Court Update (synchronous)

The eight Featured Panels, to be held synchronously for virtual attendees on Thursday and Friday, will discuss:

  • Social Justice and Education Law
  • Hot Topics on the First Amendment's Religion Clauses
  • Hot Topics in School Finance Litigation
  • Hot Topics in the Law of School Safety
  • Hot Topics in Charter School Law
  • Hot Topics in Higher Education Law
  • Hot Topics in K-12 Education Law
  • Hot Topics in Special Education Law

In addition, the conference provides ample opportunities for networking, socializing, small discussions about shared interests, special opportunities for students and for first-time attendees, and recognition for excellence in the field through the bestowing on Friday of ELA's five annual awards.

ELA will provide certificates of attendance and other documentation to enable attorneys to self-apply for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit, (we will not applying directly to state bars for preapproval) and also for school employees to self-apply for professional development credit. 


On Wednesday, October 20, ELA offers stand-alone preconferences, deeper dives available for a separate fee (see below) that can be taken in addition to, or without registering for, the rest of the conference. Preconferences will only be held in person. This year's lineup is:

  • Education Law Workshop for Texas School Administrators and Educators (full-day: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm)
  • Ethics in the Practice of Education Law (ethics CLE for attorneys) (half-day: 1:30 - 4:30 pm)
  • Unconscious Bias in the Legal Profession (ethics CLE for attorneys) (half-day: 8:30 - 11:30 am)
  • Best Practices and New Ideas in the Teaching of Education Law (half-day: 1:30 - 4:30 pm)
  • An Introduction to Education Law (both K-12 & Higher Education) (half-day: 1:30 - 4:30 pm)
  • Introduction to K-12 and Higher Education Law for Law and Graduate Students (half-day: 1:30 - 4:30 pm)


Registration fees are as follows:

  • In-person member attendance (non-student): $350
  • Virtual member attendance (non-student): $200
    • Discount off above prices for ELA members attending their first ELA conference as a non-student: -$50
  • Student in-person attendance: $150 (includes 12 months of student membership in ELA)
  • Student virtual attendance: $100 (includes 12 months of student membership in ELA)
  • Non-member in-person: $550
  • Non-member virtual: $350

To learn about ELA memberships and to join, click here.

This year's preconferences all are priced at $50, except for the all-day Education Law Workshop for Texas School Administrators, which is $100. Attendees of this Texas Administrators' preconference are eligible to register for virtual participation in the main conference for the discounted price of $100 or for in-person participation in the main conference for the discounted price of $300.

Registration is being managed by ELA's conference management service, Indiana University Conferences (IUC).

Please direct any registration questions to IUC at  or 800.933.9330.

To access the IUC registration page for the ELA Annual Conference, click on the button below. Please note that this year only electronic payment will be accepted.


Presenters must register by September 15. We request that if possible registrations be made -- and any revisions made -- by October 6, 2021; we'd certainly rather have you register than not if you haven't by then, but the more we know sooner, the better our planning can be for a hybrid event. For example, if you've registered for the conference but wish to switch from virtual to in-person attendance or the reverse -- or you wish to add one or more preconferences -- you can do so clicking the “Edit Order” button in your registration confirmation email or by contacting IUC at or 800.933.9330. You will be charged or refunded any resulting difference in registration fees, minus a $5 fee that applies only to the processing of a refund. 


We will again be using Whova as our conference app, not only for virtual participants but also for in-person attendees. Registrants will receive downloading instructions and other tips by email.

If you need assistance with Whova, please direct questions to IUC at the contact information provided above.


The in-person event will convene at the historic Sheraton Gunter Hotel San Antonio, within walking distance of the River Walk and the Alamo. The special group hotel rate for the ELA conference is $179 per night for a standard room and can be booked for any duration of stay between October 16 and 26, 2021. Attendees can book their rooms at the conference rate all the way through October 15, 2021. ELA strongly encourages attendees to choose our conference hotel, which is important to the success of our conference. Click here to book your hotel stay.


Written notice of cancellation must be submitted by email to Indiana University Conferences. Cancellations received through October 13, 2021 will be refunded minus a $25 processing fee. Cancellations received after October 13 are non-refundable.


Please check back here as more information on the program becomes available.

We look forward to seeing you this year!