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.

Student Newspaper Sues University After All Print Media Is Defunded Following The Publication Of A Satirical Article

By:Steve Ngo, Stephanie White, Brittaney Contreras -

January 2020Number 4A University of California San Diego (UCSD) student newspaper, The Koala, brought suit against UCSD officials alleging that they defunded all print media in violation of the First Amendment. In The Koala v. Khosla (9th Cir. 2019) 931 F.3d 887, the Ninth Circuit sided with the student newspaper, reversing in part and vacating in part a district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that the Eleventh Amendment did not bar The Koala's claims, and allowing the case to pr...

New State Laws Aimed At Protecting LGBTQ Students And Students Who Are Pregnant Or Parenting

By:Marisa Lincoln, Stephanie White, Lauren Lyman -

January 2020Number 1Assembly Bills (AB) 493 outlines new requirements for school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to train certificated employees, serving in grades 7 to 12, to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth. AB 809 outlines new requirements for public colleges and universities to increase awareness of the Title IX rights provided to pregnant and parenting students. Additionally, AB 34 requires that specific informa...

Data Breach Notification Law Gets Updates With Important Implications

By:Devon Lincoln, James McCann -

January 2020Number 2Data breaches are all but inevitable and occur in all types of organizations. Public entities are no exception, with cyber criminals increasingly targeting the wide-range of sensitive information they maintain (e.g., student data, resident data, confidential government infrastructure data, etc.). Against the backdrop of and in response to this looming threat of cyber-attacks, Governor Newsom recently signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 1130, which makes small but significan...

In An Historic Move, California Paves Way For Public Banks

By:Daniel Maruccia, Ryan Harrison, Sr. -

December 2019Number 86Effective January 1, 2020, local agencies will be allowed to create their own public banks. Assembly Bill (AB) 857, known as California's Public Banking Act, allows local agencies and/or joint powers associations to organize nonprofit mutual benefit corporations for the purpose of engaging in the banking business. The stated purpose of the Public Banking Act is achieving cost savings for local government entities, strengthening local economies, supporting local economic ...

Appellate Court Refuses To Enforce An Indemnity Provision Included In Consultant Agreement It Considers To Be Unfair To Consultant Plaintiffs

By:Devon Lincoln, Janae Castellani -

December 2019Number 85On December 9, 2019, the Appellate Court filed its decisions inLong Beach Unified School District v. Margaret Williams LLC, holding that an indemnity provision included in a consultant agreement between the parties was unfair and therefore inapplicable to claims brought by the consultant, Margaret Williams, or her consultant company, Margaret Williams LLC, against the District.BackgroundIn 2006, Long Beach Unified School District prepared and entered into its standard fo...

Complainants Now Have 3 Years To File Charge Of Employment Discrimination

By:Michelle Cannon, Angela Okamura -

December 2019Number 79Effective January 1, 2020, employees complaining of discrimination in the workplace will have three years to file a charge of discrimination with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).On October 10, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 9 into law, which extends the deadline under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for employees to file a charge from one year to three years-tripling the amount of time employees previously had ...

Public Agencies Can Be Liable For Attorney’s Fees In Reverse-CPRA Actions

By:Manuel Martinez, Sophia Cohn -

December 2019Number 80The risks involved in asking a court to halt the disclosure of documents sought under a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request were just expanded to public agencies. About a year ago, we reported that a pair of court decisions held that private parties who lose in a lawsuit, to prevent government agencies from disclosing personal information, may be required to pay the requester's attorney's fees (see 2018 Client News Brief Number 35). In the recent case of City of...