On June 10, 1976, plaintiffs filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court alleging a system-wide failure to evaluate and prepare educational plans for students referred for special education and to conduct periodic
reviews to monitor progress in accordance with state regulations. Allen v. McDonough was the first class
action suit brought against a school system in Massachusetts for non-compliance with Chapter 766.
The State Department of Education intervened on the side of the plaintiffs. The Allen v. McDonough Working
Files represent the work of two defense attorneys who represented Boston Public Schools in this case: Michael Betcher (1976-84) and Marien E. Evans (1985-1992). From approximately 1992 until 1998 the law firm of Goulston and Storrs handled representation. The files span the years 1974 through 1998 but the bulk consists of the years 1976 – 1992.
The Office of General Counsel (OGC), today known as the Office of Legal Advisors (OLA), has a mission to "provide quality legal services to the Superintendent of Schools and the Boston School Committee in a manner that is best aligned with the goals of improving teaching and learning within the Boston Public Schools". The OGC played an instrumental role in both the Morgan desegregation case (1974-1994) and the Allen special education case (1976-1996). The Office of General Counsel records document the work of this department on both cases, as well as, work on a few lesser-known cases.