College administrators need partners who understand their world - the dynamic relationship between faculty and administration, the challenges of ensuring a stable and well-regulated student community, the expanding regulatory climate affecting education, and the technology that will frame the institutions of tomorrow.

Areas of Practice

We routinely advise administrators on compliance, best practices, and trends in the law uniquely affecting community colleges. These areas include:

  • Institutional policies, including Employee, Faculty and Student Handbooks
  • Admissions policies and practices
  • Financial aid and scholarships
  • Construction agreements and facilities finance
  • Labor negotiations
  • Compliance with laws regulating classified and certificated employees
  • Wage and hour compliance
  • Severance and separation agreements
  • Technology and software licensing agreements
  • Third-party vendor and multi-institution contracts
  • Online education contracting
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Fundraising and development
  • Governance
  • Bond counsel services
  • Real Property
  • Environmental Issues

Lozano Smith clients consistently turn to the Community College Practice Group for guidance in every aspect of claims and litigation. They assist this specialized group of clientele with:

  • Employment litigation
  • Harassment and discrimination complaints
  • Student code of conduct violations and proceedings
  • Tenure disputes
  • First Amendment claims
  • Layoff proceedings
  • Labor arbitrations
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Embezzlement/fraud issues
  • Unfair business practices claims
  • Premises liability claims
  • Vendor disputes

Investigations - Learn more

The inherent seriousness and sensitivity of workplace investigations often obligates an employer to hire an independent investigator to conduct a prompt and comprehensive investigation. Lozano Smith's Investigative Services Team, a specialist group within our Labor & Employment Practice Group, recognizes the challenges that come with investigations of employee, student, and parent complaints. These attorneys have expertly served as investigators and advisors to clients on a broad range of complaints and can help your district to navigate the investigations process. Working alongside K-12 school districts, community colleges, universities and other public agencies, the Investigative Services Team supports management in reviewing and responding to employee, student, and parent complaints in a fair, impartial, and legally compliant manner.

Title IX Impact Team

Title IX has taken center stage on a number of fronts. Long before the national attention, Lozano Smith’s Title IX Impact Team was formed as a specialized group dedicated to the pressing issues faced by school districts. From athletics to sexual violence, this team advises, trains, and educates clients on the various components of Title IX – from prevention and mitigation to investigation and response. The Title IX Impact Team draws from multiple practice groups and focuses to streamline advice and counsel. Areas in which the group provides advice and training include:

  • Audit of athletic programs
  • Audit of grievance procedures and policies
  • Discipline of employees and students
  • Sexual misconduct and harassment
  • Student and employee protections
  • Investigations
  • Title IX Coordinator roles and responsibilities
  • District and employee liability
  • Interaction with law enforcement agencies
  • Litigation

Real World Applications

By working with attorneys who specialize in the law of higher education, colleges save time and money, and can trust that the attorneys they are speaking to already understand their world. The Group's practical experience translates into proven, efficient solutions.

Supreme Court Keeps DACA in Place, Emphasizing Importance of Procedural Requirements for the Program’s Rescission

By:Sloan Simmons, Nicholas Felahi -

June 2020Number 51On June 18, 2020, in Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California (June 18, 2020, Nos. 18-587, 18-588, and 18-589) __ U.S. __[2020 U.S. LEXIS 3254], the United States Supreme Court found unlawful the way in which the Trump Administration sought to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Specifically, in the 5-4 majority opinion, the Supreme Court held that the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) original analysis a...

New Title IX Regulations Issued by the Department of Education Take Effect August 14, 2020

By:Michelle Cannon, Stephanie White, Sarah Fama -

June 2020Number 49On May 6, 2020, the United States Department of Education (DOE) issued much-anticipated Regulations (Regulations) addressing how schools and colleges (referred to as Recipients) must respond to claims of sexual harassment covered by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). Title IX is the federal law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational settings. The Regulations make significant changes to current requirements and practices and re...

Status of Federal and State Laws on Student Gender Identify Rights: Federal Lawsuit Seeks to Block Participation of Transgender Athletes and the Office for Civil Rights Weighs In

By:Sloan Simmons, Stephanie White, Brooke Bolton Tiutan -

June 2020Number 48In February of this year, the families of three cisgender female high school athletes (Plaintiffs) filed a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and multiple Connecticut school boards over a CIAC policy (Policy) that allows transgender athletes to participate in sports based on their gender identity. The complaint focuses on the biological differences between males and females, stating that the Policy permits athletes "who are mal...

Industrial Disability Retirement May Still Be Considered a Constructive Discharge

By:Jenell Van Bindsbergen, Lindsey Zwicker -

May 2020Number 34On January 28, 2020, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District revived a former California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer’s claims that he was forced to quit because he is openly gay. In Brome v. California Highway Patrol, the Court of Appeal held that a workers’ compensation claim could extend the statute of limitations for filing a complaint of discrimination and that an industrial disability retirement could still be considered a constructiv...

CARES Act – Federal Funding for COVID-19 Prevention

By:Jenell Van Bindsbergen, Wesley Carlson -

April 2020Number 24In the midst of the emergency surrounding the novel coronavirus and its associated respiratory disease (COVID-19), the federal government passed a two trillion dollar spending bill. The bill, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, includes funding assistance in the form of direct tax rebate payments to individuals and couples, increased unemployment benefits, loans for small businesses, student loan payment deferral, and the expansion...

Important Update: The deadline to file the Annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) has been extended from April 1, 2020 to June 1, 2020

By:Scott Cross -

March 2020Number 18In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has announced it is allowing a 60-day extension for those required to file a 2019 Annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700). As a result of this extension, Form 700's normally due no later than April 1, 2020 will be accepted by the FPPC as timely filed if submitted by June 1, 2020. This extension applies to all officials required to file in April pursuant to Commission Regulati...

Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Temporary Employer-Paid Sick Leave and Employer-Paid FMLA Leave for Childcare

By:Gabriela Flowers, Jenell Van Bindsbergen, Kate Holding -

March 2020Number 17In response to the nationwide economic disruption and uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, Congress passed, and the President signed, the "Families First Coronavirus Response Act" (H.R. 6201), which became law on March 18, 2020. While H.R. 6201 provides federal assistance in a range of areas, this Client News Brief focuses on relief provided by H.R. 6201 in the form of employer-paid sick leave for individuals and families unable to work due to the virus or its ...