F: (304) 264-4210
J.D., West Virginia University College of Law (1995)
B.A., magna cum laude, English, West Virginia University (1992)
- Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
- U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of West Virginia
Attorney Laura Lilly Sutton joined Bowles Rice in April 2018, bringing over two decades of professional experience to the firm’s top-rated Education Law Group. While the firm’s Martinsburg, West Virginia office is her “home base,” Laura travels throughout the state, assisting school districts, boards of education and their employees with a wide variety of complex legal issues.
From 1997 to early 2018, Laura served as General Counsel and Assistant Superintendent for Berkeley County Schools – a public school district in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia with over 19,000 students and 3,500 employees. In this role, she provided legal advice, counsel and representation to the superintendent of schools and senior staff, school principals and the Board of Education; reviewed policy changes, legislation and amendments; and negotiated and prepared contracts, agreements and a wide variety of other legal instruments. A Certified Superintendent, Laura also supervised the district’s Office of Human Resources, Special Education Programs and Transportation Department.
She has advised and represented school districts on a variety of topics, including student disciplinary matters, federal and state laws concerning Section 504 students, and investigations and compliance reviews initiated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. She has vast experience in areas ranging from employee disciplinary actions to compliance with statutory rules and regulations.
In addition, Laura has provided staff development and other pertinent training to county administrators, teachers and service personnel. She is a member of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators and the National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys.
- Served as General Counsel and Assistant Superintendent to Berkeley County Schools, West Virginia (1997 - 2018)
- Evans v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 2018-0587-BerED (2018) (untimely)
- Attorney for Amicus Curiae - West Virginia Association of School Administrators Monongalia County Board of Education v. American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia AFL-CIO, No. 15-0662, 2016 WL 6560057 (2016) (RESA interventionists in the schools)
- Foltz v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 2017-1357-BerED (2017) (distinguishing willful neglect of duty)
- Boarman, et al. v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 06-02-286 (2006) (transfer of transportation aides)
- Haynes v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 03-02-134 (2003) (timeliness)
- Childs v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 01-02-510 (2001) (non-selection for department chair position)
- Butts v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 01-02-052 (2001) (employee uniforms)
- Shetler, et al. v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 00-02-119 (2000) (work days/discrimination)
- Mauck v. Berkeley County Board of Education, 97-02-231 (1998) (non-selection for administrative position)
Presentations & Events
- Presentation: Empowering West Virginia’s School Districts: Developments from the Legislature’s 2019 Regular Session by Laura L. SuttonWest Virginia School Board Association: Regional MeetingSouth Branch Inn, Romney, West Virginia, May 2, 2019
- Presentation: Employee Handbooks by Laura L. SuttonWest Virginia Association of School Human Resource Officials: Spring ConferenceMercer County Technical Education Center, Princeton, West Virginia, April 25, 2019
- Presentation: "Hot Topics in School Personnel Law" by Richard S. Boothby, Canon B. Hill and Laura L. SuttonWest Virginia Association of School Human Resource Officials: Fall ConferenceThe Blennerhassett Hotel, Parkersburg, West Virginia, October 25, 2018
- Presentation: What Public School Leaders Ought to Know About Recent Legislation and Related Legal Developments by Howard E. Seufer, Jr. and Laura SuttonWest Virginia Association of School Administrators: Summer ConferenceStonewall Resort, Roanoke, West Virginia, June 22, 2018
- Presentation: When Do Substitutes Get “Substandard” Rights and Benefits? by Richard S. Boothby and Laura L. SuttonWest Virginia Association of School Business Officials: 2018 Spring ConferenceEmbassy Suites, Charleston, West Virginia, May 18, 2018
- Presentation: Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse! by Howard E. Seufer, Jr. and Laura L. SuttonWest Virginia Association of School Business Officials: 2018 Spring ConferenceEmbassy Suites, Charleston, West Virginia, May 18, 2018
- Board Member, Education Alliance
- West Virginia State Bar
- Berkeley County Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- West Virginia Association of School Administrators
- National School Board Association Council of School Attorneys
- Board Member, Eastern Panhandle Bar Charitable Foundation