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. The in-person event will be organized in accordance with San Antonio health and safety guidelines, and the virtual option will build on ELA's successful experience with our 2020 virtual conference.

Screen shot of 2021 Conf info session jpegELA's Annual Conference attracts scholars and practitioners from all over the U.S. and Canada and a number of other countries. This uniquely diverse gathering draws attorneys, professors, education leaders and administrators, graduate and law students, teachers, public officials, consultants, reporters, and other stakeholders 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 that offers the richness of programming this diversity makes possible. Virtual participants will be able to view featured programming in real time and recordings of other sessions at their own convenience. Learn more by clicking the image to the left of our April 2021 online information session. You also can get a sense of the ELA Annual Conference by checking out the program from our 2020 virtual conference. 


walsh markELA is delighted to announce that one of our keynote speakers will be Mark Walsh, education law reporter for Education Week, SCOTUSblog, and the American Bar Association's ABA Journal. Mr. Walsh will once again present the annual Supreme Court Update. Few reporters combine his knowledge of K-12 education with his experience covering the courts, and fewer -- if any -- have education law as their assigned "beat." Mr. Walsh's always informative and entertaining review of the past year, with a look ahead to coming events, has been one of the most popular conference highlights in recent years.

One of the other general sessions will focus on the history, legacy, and future of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 decision in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez. The other will focus on the Court's 2013 decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, and its follow-up in 2016.


ELA's Annual Conference features an array of panel discussions, breakout sessions, round tables, and poster sessions on a range of substantive topics as well as on the teaching, study, and practice of education lawIn addition, the program will include eight featured panel discussions on the following topics:

  • 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

Proposals for other panel sessions still are welcome, as are proposals for concurrent sessions that address aspects of these topics. 


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 (full-day)
  • Ethics in the Practice of Education Law (ethics CLE for attorneys) (half-day: afternoon)
  • Unconscious Bias in the Legal Profession (ethics CLE for attorneys) (half-day: morning)
  • Best Practices and New Ideas in the Teaching of Education Law (half-day: afternoon)
  • An Introduction to Education Law (both K-12 & Higher Education) (half-day: afternoon)
  • Introduction to Education Law for Law Students (both K-12 & Higher Education) (half-day: afternoon)

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 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 and school employees to apply for professional development credit.


ELA is soliciting proposals for a variety of presentations on education law topics, from preK-12 through higher education. For this hybrid event, all presenters of concurrent sessions will present by video pre-recording, even if they also will be presenting in person in San Antonio. Both to showcase ELA's organizational distinctiveness as well as to accommodate scheduling constraints of a hybrid conference, ELA strongly encourages proposals for joint presentations with co-presenters that showcase ELA's diversity, professional and otherwise. Proposals for concurrent sessions are due on June 1, 2021, and for round table discussions or poster sessions on July 15. Round tables will only be held in person. Poster sessions will be prerecorded but also held in person for presenters wishing to do so.

See the Call for Proposals and access the online proposal form, here.  


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). 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.


Registrations can be revised until October 6, 2021. (Note: We have had to move this deadline one week earlier from the previously announced October 13.) For example, if you register for the conference now and later wish to switch from in-person to virtual attendance or the reverse, or you wish to add one or more preconferences, you will be able to do so by contacting IUC. 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. 


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. The last day to book at the conference rate is September 20, 2021. ELA strongly encourages attendees to book their stays at the 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.


This year's Annual Conference conference affords a variety of opportunities for sponsors and advertisers for high visibility messaging and support of the event, our attendees, and ELA's mission of promoting legal literacy. To review the range of available options see our Sponsorship & Marketing Opportunities summary sheet and accompanying cover letter. For information or discuss opportunities for your organization, contact ELA as indicated below and on the summary sheet. 


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

You also may email inquiries to ELA at  or call us at 833-ELA-1954.

We look forward to seeing you this year!