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.

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 ...

Public Agency Employer Responses to COVID-19: Labor and Employment Implications

By:Gabriela Flowers, Derek Ulmer -

March 2020Number 12BackgroundWith growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, public agency employers are taking proactive steps to limit exposure and further transmission. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been providing regular updates and recommendations for employers, which should be closely monitored and followed.The following is some general guidance from a labor and employment ...

Creditable Compensation for Paid Administrative Leave Under Review by CalSTRS

By:Thomas Manniello, Janae Castellani -

February 2020Number 10On January 23, 2020, the California State Teachers' Retirement System ("CalSTRS") issued an Employer Information Circular taking a restrictive position regarding what leaves count for the purpose of calculating creditable compensation under the Teachers' Retirement Law. The CalSTRS Employer Circular is located here.Creditable compensation is a term set forth in the Education Code that represents all compensation reportable to CalSTRS for an employee's performance of cred...

Court of Appeal Confirms Limits on Severance Payouts to Public Employees

By:Sloan Simmons, Kyle Raney -

January 2020Number 8In Koenig v. Warner Unified School District (2019) 41 Cal.App.5th 43, the California Court of Appeal added to the legal landscape under Government Code sections 53260 and 53261, which limits severance payouts to public employees, while also addressing the important concepts of severance of illegal contract provisions in the context of an employment termination agreement. Warner Unified School District (District) was represented in this matter by Lozano Smith attorneys Sloa...

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...