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
- 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
- Title IX Coordinator roles and responsibilities
- District and employee liability
- Interaction with law enforcement agencies
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.
December 2017 Number 85 School districts' bid threshold for purchases of equipment, materials, supplies and services (except construction services) has been adjusted to $90,200, effective January 1, 2018. This represents an increase of 2.20 percent over the 2017 bid limit. The notice may be viewed here. Under Public Contract Code section 20111(a), school districts must competitively bid contracts over the bid limit and award to the lowest responsible bidder, unless an exception applies...
November 2017 Number 78 Beginning January 1, 2018, minors under the age of 16 must consult with legal counsel prior to a custodial interrogation and before waiving their Miranda rights. Existing law requires a peace officer to advise minors of their rights by providing a Miranda warning. But if the minor or parent waives those rights, officers can interrogate the minor. Senate Bill (SB) 395, which adds section 625.6 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, will prohibit a law enforcement ...
November 2017 Number 73 Assembly Bill (AB) 1651 adds a new hurdle community college districts must clear before placing an academic employee on paid administrative leave. AB 1651 specifies new requirements for placing academic employees on paid administrative leave, including two days' advance notice of such a placement unless an exception applies. The bill becomes effective January 1, 2018. Academic employees are individuals employed by a community college district in academic positio...
October 2017 Number 67 On September 28, 2017, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review the Illinois case Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, which challenges the constitutionality of "fair share" or "agency" fees collected by unions. A decision in the case is anticipated by June 2018. Janus challenges the constitutionality of fair share fees (a.k.a. agency fees) under Illinois law. Specifically, the Illinois Public Relations Act allows unions to collect fair share fees from non-union ...
October 2017 Number 68 Employers, including public agency employers, will be forbidden from asking job applicants for their salary history when Assembly Bill (AB) 168 becomes effective on January 1, 2018. AB 168 explicitly prohibits public agency employers from asking job applicants for salary history information. However, when an applicant voluntarily and without prompting provides salary history information, employers may use the information as a factor in determining salary if the e...
October 2017 Number 56 New guidance on schools' responsibilities for addressing claims of sexual misconduct under Title IX places greater emphasis on the rights of those accused of sexual misconduct. The new guidance marks a significant departure from prior guidance but lacks details, creating the potential for many issues requiring legal consultation. On September 22, the United States Department of Education issued interim guidance on schools' responsibilities in addressing sexual mi...
July 2017 Number 42 State lawmakers have extended the deadlines to apply for and encumber money dedicated to energy efficiency projects at schools and community colleges - the program known as Proposition 39 - and have created a new program to fund such projects indefinitely. Proposition 39 was scheduled to sunset June 30, 2018. Now, Senate Bill (SB) 110 has extended the deadline for encumbering Proposition 39 funds by one year, to June 30, 2019. At the same time, the bill creates the ...