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Barbara A. Ruga

Member
Office

Grand Rapids

200 Ottawa NW
Suite 500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
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Fax: 616.608.1165
Practice Areas
Labor & Employment
Areas of Emphasis
Collective BargainingEmployment at Will/ContractsEmployment CounselingEmployment DiscriminationEmployment LitigationEmployment Training/SeminarsEqual Employment Opportunity LawLegal Advice on Union Organizing CampaignsTitle IX Compliance and InvestigationsUnfair Labor Practice ChargesWage & Hour Matters
Industries
Education
Education
J.D., cum laude, University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1977
B.A., cum laude, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1973
State Bar Licenses
Michigan
Membership
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Michigan Negotiators Association
Michigan & National Council of School Attorneys
State Bar of Michigan
Best lawyers badge 2018
Super lawyers 2015
Best lawyers badge generic

Barbara A. Ruga

Member

Barbara A. Ruga is a member in Clark Hill’s Grand Rapids office where she practices in the Education and Municipal Practice Group as well as the Labor & Employment Law Practice Group. Barb advises and counsels public and private employers on a wide variety of labor law and employment issues. Barb has extensive experience negotiating public school contracts in a context of scarce resources. She has also handled numerous unfair labor practice charges, fact-findings, OCR and EEO claims and related employment litigation. Barb advocates for prevention through education, and to that end specializes in employee training programs to clients and public school organizations.

Barb is a highly sought after presenter, regularly delivering employment seminars and training programs statewide to employers and their associations, notably the Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators, the Michigan Association of School Boards, and the Michigan School Business Officials, among others. In addition, for over a decade, Barb has been a frequent lecturer for the Michigan Negotiators Association – presenting at their semi-annual conferences, periodic training institutes, and singlehandedly conducting their winter mini-series across the State.

Examples of recent training programs include:

  • "Title IX: What Would You Do...?" (2015)
  • "The Evolving Law of Teacher Evaluations" (2015)
  • The Clark Hill School Law Academy for Principals, which includes student and employee investigations and discipline, grievance handling and contract administration.
  • The 2011 School Law Reforms & Teacher Evaluations (Michigan Negotiators Association, 2011-present)
  • “Bargaining Over Money in Difficult Economic Times” (National School Board Association, 2011)
  • “Negotiating Effectively in Turbulent Times” (North American Association of Educational Negotiators, 2011)
  • “Communication and Responding to Pressure Tactics” (Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School Administrators and Michigan School Business Officials, 2011)
  • “A New Age for Teacher and Administrative Evaluations” (Michigan Negotiators Association, 2011)
  • “New Ways to Communicate Today’s Negotiations” (Michigan School Public Relations Association, 2009)
  • “Fact Finding: Preparing From Day One” (Michigan Negotiators Association, 2009)
  • “Dealing with Crisis Situations” (Michigan Association of School Boards, 2009)

A past president of the Michigan Council for School Attorneys, Barb has been recognized by her peers as a leader in the school labor negotiations field through the prestigious Harlow Claggett award, received in 2007 for her contributions to public school labor negotiations, and has been asked to speak at national school conferences, the National Council of School Attorneys and the North American Educational Negotiators Association. In addition, Barb was named Grand Rapids' 2016 "Lawyer of the Year" for Education Law in the 22nd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Only a single lawyer in each practice area in each community is honored as the "Lawyer of the Year." 

In addition to her legal practice, Barb has been involved in the legal community, as past chair of the Grand Rapids Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, a member of the Judicial Evaluation and Character and Fitness Committees, and former trustee of the Grand Rapids Bar Association.

In 1984, Barb authored and edited the first edition of Wrongful Discharge Cases In Michigan for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE). Barb continued to author and edit articles and books on employment litigation through 1999. In 1991, she co-authored the Michigan Business Formbook and authored and co-authored its supplements for eight years. In 1996, Barb co-authored Michigan Law of Damages, Second Edition and wrote chapters in its supplements through 2001. She has also taught several ICLE courses.

In her spare time, Barb loves to spend time with her grandchildren and wants to hike each of our 58 national parks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News
Clark Hill Attorneys Nicole M. Paterson, Barbara A. Ruga and Joseph B. Urban to Present During MASPA’s 45th Annual Winter ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Named 2018 Education Law “Lawyer of the Year”Seventy-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Barbara A. Ruga and Kara T. Rozin to Present at MASPA’s 44th Annual Winter ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present Keynote Address During MNA’s 2016 Fall ConferenceClark Hill Attorneys John L. Gierak and Barbara A. Ruga to Co-Present During MNA’s 2016 Fall ConferenceSixty-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2017 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present Keynote Address During MASSP and MASA’s Educator Evaluation Conference Friday, April 29, 2016Members of Clark Hill PLC's Education Practice Group to Present at the 78th Annual MSBO Conference and Exhibit Show, April 26-28, 2016Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Educator Evaluations” During the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators’ 2016 Spring MeetingClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Negotiators Association’s Spring Conference Thursday, March 17, 2016Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Speak During the MASA Region VI Superintendent Conference on Thursday, March 3, 2016Clark Hill PLC Partners with Plante Moran to Present School Law and Finance Seminar on January 9, 2016Clark Hill Attorneys Kurt M. Graham and Barbara A. Ruga to Present “New Evaluation Regulations for Teachers and Administrators” Thursday, November 12, 2015Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During the 2015 Michigan Negotiators Association Fall Conference Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During the Michigan Council of School Attorneys 27th Annual Fall School Law Conference on October 22, 2015Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Managing & Limiting Liability Risks Within Public Schools: How Principals & Building Administrators Directly Affect the Bottom Line”Sixty-Five Clark Hill Attorneys Named to Michigan Super Lawyers 2015 ListClark Hill Attorneys Kurt M. Graham and Barbara A. Ruga Present During the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials' (NASSLEO) 46th Annual ConferenceClark Hill PLC Receives National and Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America's “Best Law Firms”Sixty-Two Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Negotiators Association 2015 Labor Relations AcademyMembers of Clark Hill PLC's Education Practice Group to Present at the 77th Annual MSBO Conference and Exhibit Show, April 28-30, 2015Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Negotiators Association Spring Conference on March 12, 2015Clark Hill PLC Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Negotiators Association Mini Conference in January 2015Clark Hill PLC Partners with Plante Moran to Present School Law and Finance Seminar Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators’ 42nd Annual Winter ConferenceFifty-Seven Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2014 Leading LawyersClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at Michigan Negotiators Association Fall Conference October 1, 2014 Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present to Wayne RESA HR Professionals September 12, 2014 Clark Hill Attorneys Barbara A. Ruga and Kurt M. Graham Presented to The Muskegon Area ISD & Its Constituent Districts September 10, 2014Sixty-Three Clark Hill Attorneys Named to Michigan Super Lawyers 2014 List Fifty-Nine Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2015 Edition of Best Lawyers in America Members of Clark Hill PLC's Education Practice Group to Present at the 76th Annual MSBO Conference and Exhibit Show, May 6-8, 2014Thirteen Clark Hill Attorneys Included in Hour Detroit Magazine’s Top Women Attorneys in Michigan PublicationClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at Negotiating on Shifting Sands The Law and Practice of School Negotiations in a New AgeClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education Winter Institute 2014Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Negotiators Association Mini ConferencesClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present on Public Act 152 at Western Michigan Health Insurance Pool SeminarClark Hill Partners with Plante & Moran to Present School Law and Finance SeminarClark Hill Director of Governmental Affairs Del Chenault and Attorneys Barbara A. Ruga and Eric C. Griggs Presented at the Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators (MASPA) Conference December 5 & 6, 2013Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the OAISD Educator Evaluation Summit – November 26Clark Hill Attorneys Barbara A. Ruga & John Gierak Present at the MNA Fall Conference – October 10Six Clark Hill Attorneys Receive 2013 Top Rated Lawyer Designation in Labor & EmploymentSixty-Five Clark Hill Attorneys Named to Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars 2013 ListFifty-Seven Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2014 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorneys Barbara A. Ruga and Roderick S. Coy to Present at the Genesee County Superintendent’s Association Annual Retreat – August 13Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the 2013 MNA Academy – May 9Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the ISOA’s May 1 MeetingMembers of Clark Hill PLC's Education Practice Group to Present at the 75th Annual MSBO Conference and Exhibit Show, April 23-25Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the MERC Act 312 Arbitrator & fact Finder Training – April 18Clark Hill West Michigan Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Negotiators Association Spring Conference – March 14Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Lay-Off, Recall, and Negotiations” WebinarClark Hill Partners with Plante & Moran to Present School Law and Finance SeminarClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present to the Metro Bureau “Teacher Evaluations: So, Where Are We and Where Are We Going?” Dec. 4Clark Hill West Michigan Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Winter Conference of the Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators, November 29Forty-Four Clark Hill PLC Attorneys Selected for Inclusion on the 2013 Best Lawyers in America ListClark Hill West Michigan Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Presents at Michigan Negotiators Association Fall ConferenceFour Clark Hill Attorneys Receive 2013 “Lawyer of the Year” Distinction from the Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill West Michigan Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at Michigan Negotiators Association Spring Conference, March 8Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During 2012 Labor Relations Conference “Starting and Ending on the Same Page as a Team”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present Michigan Negotiators Association’s 2012 Mini-ConferencesClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Public Act 152: The Silver Lining in the Cloud of School Finance”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Co-Presents During the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's Issues & Ideas ForumClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Presents "What's Left to Bargain" During the Michigan Negotiators Association's Fall ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Recent Legislation and the Effect on Public Sector Employees and Employers”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Co-Present “The New Era of Tenure”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Speak at the Michigan Negotiators Associations’ 2011 Labor Relations Academy WorkshopClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Speak at the National School Board Association’s Council of School Attorneys' 2011 School Law SeminarClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present as Keynote Speaker During the 42nd North American Association of Educational Negotiators ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During Michigan Negotiators Association’s Spring ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Communication and Responding to Pressure Tactics”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Presents “A New Age for Teacher and Administrative Evaluations” for Michigan Negotiators Association’s 2011 Mini ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During Michigan School Business Officials’ Health Care Insurance Reform Workshop November 30, 2010Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators’ Winter ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During Michigan Council of School Attorneys and Michigan Association of School Boards 2010 Fall ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at the Michigan Negotiators Conference on September 30 in Bellaire, MichiganBarbara A. Ruga Publishes "Teacher Union Bargaining in Times of Economic Distress" Article in Leadership Insider MagazineClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During the Michigan Institute for Educational Management’s Conference on June 3, 2010Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Presents on MERC’s Panel of Act 312 Arbitrators and Fact FindersClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys’ “2010 School Law Seminar”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Speak at the 41st Annual NAEN ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Presents “Impasse: The Road to Implementation”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Staffing Schools During Time of Declining Revenue and Enrollment”Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During Michigan Association of School Personnel Administrators’ Annual MeetingClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present During Michigan School Public Relations Association’s Annual ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Presents at Michigan Negotiators Association's Annual ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Speak at MASB Conference in LansingClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present on the Topic of Michigan Teacher Tenure ActClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at Michigan Negotiators Association’s 2009 Labor Relations AcademyMichigan Negotiators Association’s 2009 Mini Conference to Feature Clark Hill Attorney Barbara A. RugaClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present “Investigating Alleged Misconduct” at MASPA’s 36th Annual ConferenceClark Hill Attorneys Robert Lusk and Barbara Ruga to Present Clark Hill InstituteClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Speak at Michigan Negotiators Association’s 2008 MNA AcademyClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Speak at Michigan Association of School Boards’ Urban ConferenceMichigan Negotiators Association’s 2008 Mini Conference to Feature Barbara A. RugaBarbara A. Ruga to Speak at MASPA ConferenceClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga Honored with the Michigan Negotiators Association’s Harlow Claggett AwardThirty Two Clark Hill Attorneys Selected as Michigan Super LawyersClark Hill Attorney Barbara A. Ruga to Present at Michigan Negotiators Association Fall Conference