Shawn Nelson


Four Seagate
Eighth Floor
Toledo, Ohio 43604


Shawn Nelson focuses his practice on Education Law and Labor & Employment Law. He represents boards of education and private schools in all areas related to education, including personnel and student issues, political subdivision immunity, constitutional law, FERPA, public meetings and records law, special education law, labor and employment issues, and Title IX compliance. He has also assisted the general counsel of a large, urban public school district with various legal issues.

Shawn also represents public and private sector employers in various labor and employment areas, including the defense of claims involving discrimination, employee termination, FMLA and workers’ compensation. Shawn is also a member of the firm’s recruiting committee. 

Shawn has served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Magistrate Judge Vernelis K. Armstrong of the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, and for the Honorable Judge Arlene Singer of the Sixth District Court of Appeals. 

Prior to practicing law, Shawn served as a community organizer and after-school program coordinator in AmeriCorps and for an education-related grant, assisting in the education of K-12 students residing in Section 8 housing communities. As a law student, Shawn served as a teaching assistant in both Legal Research and Writing and Civil Procedure courses. These experiences cultivated Shawn’s commitment to education, which is now reflected in his law practice. 

News / Events

on May 2022

Awards / Recognition

  • University of Toledo College of Law Emerging Leader Award
  • ABA-BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Health Law
  • C.V. Wolfe Law Scholarship
  • Highest Ranking Student Award: Public Sector Labor Law 

Professional / Community

Professional Affiliations 

  • American Bar Association 
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Toledo Bar Association 
    • Labor & Employment Law Committee
  • Thurgood Marshall Law Association 
  • Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys 

Community Affiliations

  • Leadership Toledo
    • President, Board of Trustees
    • Member, Class of 2016
  • University of Toledo Foundation, Board of Trustees
  • University of Toledo College of Law, Young Alumni Council 
  • University of Toledo Alumni Association, College of Law Alumni Affiliate, Board of Trustees
  • ProMedica Health System, Mission Development Committee


  • Assisted general counsel of a large, urban school district in all aspects
  • Successfully litigated labor arbitrations involving contract disputes, employee termination and employee discipline
  • Counseled school districts in First Amendment issues
  • Assisted public and private schools in policy review and development
  • Represented school districts in the development of legally defensible IEPs and in various aspects of IDEA procedural compliance
  • Lectured at seminars attended by public and private school educators regarding Title IX compliance, transgender issues, and special education law
  • Drafted continuing legal education materials addressing FERPA and special education law
  • Obtained summary judgment for public and private employers in discrimination and retaliation cases under federal and state discrimination laws
  • Represented employers in employment discrimination and workers’ compensation matters before administrative agencies, including the OCRC, the Industrial Commission, as well as state and federal courts


  • Speaker, “Can She Say That?! First Amendment Rights of District Employees,” Marshall & Melhorn’s School Leaders Series, March 2017
  • Speaker, “Transgender Updates,” Marshall & Melhorn’s School Leaders Series, March 2017
  • Speaker, “Transgender Updates,” Marshall & Melhorn’s School Leaders Series, October 2016 
  • Speaker, “Getting It Right: Disciplining Students with Disabilities,” Marshall & Melhorn’s School Leaders Series, March 2016 
  • Speaker, “Transgender Updates,” Marshall & Melhorn’s School Leaders Series, March 2016 
  • Speaker, “Transgender Issues,” Marshall & Melhorn’s School Leaders Series, September 2015




J.D., 2014, cum laude, University of Toledo, Certificate of Concentration with Distinction in Labor and Employment Law
B.A., 2009, University of Michigan


United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

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