Endless innovation and the increasing use of technology - from cloud computing to harassment and cyberbullying - have created the need for best practices and sound policies. Our attorneys regularly counsel clients in the areas of governance, management of employees' and students' use of policies and regulations regarding technology, software and other technology licensing, email retention, and more.

Governance:

Questions regarding use of e-communications, and retention of and public access to electronic documents, continue to present challenges for local governments and their staffs. Lozano Smith regularly advises clients on evolving issues, including e-communications and the Brown Act, public records, social media, email retention policies, and use of personal devices.

Business:

Our procurement expertise and transactional experience enable us to assist clients in negotiating contracts in the areas of software agreements, cell tower leases, E-rate and technology equipment leases.

Students:

New technologies find their way into classrooms on a daily basis. Lozano Smith assists clients in establishing a framework for successfully utilizing and addressing new technologies while remaining legally compliant. This includes issues related to cloud computing, electronic student records systems, student discipline related to use of technology on and off campus, and social media.

Labor & Employment:

Employee privacy and free speech rights, along with employee discipline and technology use in the school and governmental setting continue to present legal challenges. Lozano Smith counsels clients on the developments in this area, including employee use of personal devices for public business, social media, appropriate use of the internet, and bring your own device (BYOD) policies.

Training for Administrators

Our attorneys regularly speak at major conferences for CASBO, CSBA, ACSA, CASCWA and other organizations on technology legal issues. Various presentations on technology in the workplace and in schools are updated annually to address the latest real-world issues faced by districts.

Court Rules that Trump's Viewpoint-Based Twitter Blocking Violates the First Amendment

By:Penelope Glover, Cory Lacy -

June 2018 Number 22 In Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, et al. v. Donald J. Trump, et al., the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that President Donald J. Trump's act of blocking Twitter users who criticized his policies from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account violated the users' right to free speech. The court recognized Twitter's "interactive space" as a "designated public forum" based on the President's use of the forum as...

New Restrictions on Disclosure of Video and Audio Recordings

By:Penelope Glover, Ellen Denham -

November 2017 Number 72 A new law will restrict the public disclosure of video and audio recordings created during the commission or investigation of rape, incest, sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse that depicts the face, intimate body part, or voice of a victim of the incident. Assembly Bill (AB) 459 goes into effect on January 1, 2018. The California Public Records Act (CPRA) requires public agencies to respond to a records request within 10 days, and to make eligible...

Feds Offer Guidance on Recent School Data System Hacks

By:Manuel Martinez, Penelope Glover -

October 2017 Number 69 An arm of the U.S. Department of Education is warning schools and colleges to prepare themselves to address a new threat from cyber criminals hacking into schools' data systems. On October 16, 2017, the Department's Federal Student Aid office (FSA) warned that cyber criminals attempted to extort money from school districts in Texas, Montana and Iowa by threatening to publicly release sensitive student information. According to news reports, the hacker or hackers,...

Editor's Note: The Aftermath of City of San Jose

By:Penelope Glover -

When WikiLeaks published more than 20,000 leaked Democratic National Committee emails in the heat of the 2016 presidential election, political journalist Olivia Nuzzi famously tweeted that one should “Dance like no one is watching; email like it may one day be read aloud in a deposition.” Nuzzi’s adage has long been true for public agency officials and employees, whose work communications are generally a matter of public record.  But the California Supreme Court’...

Private Emails Discussing Public Business are Public Records. Now What?

By:Harold Freiman -

As public agency officials and employees have increasingly turned to text messages and email to facilitate communication anytime and anywhere, they lost touch with a basic truth: Electronic communications are writings. As such, they may fall within the reach of the California Public Records Act (CPRA). Now that the California Supreme Court has opened the door to disclosure of public agency-related communications made or stored on private devices and in private accounts, California’s ...

Hold On: Litigation Holds and Electronic Records

By:Mark Kitabayashi, Michael Linden -

You may have experienced the following situation working for a local public agency. You open your mail and you see a document entitled “Litigation Hold.” An attorney wants your employer to preserve records for discovery in a legal dispute, including emails and other electronic data. Initially, you have no idea where relevant emails and data might be kept, whether they are even being saved or what policies are in place regarding the retention of emails and other electronically s...

Paper Laws, Electronic Records: An Overview of Record Retention Laws for California School Employees

By:Devon Lincoln, Ryan Tung -

Now that the California Supreme Court has directly addressed the universe of records accessible under the Public Records Act, it is more important than ever that school district employees and elected officials familiarize themselves with their obligations in retaining school district records to ensure that emails, texts and other electronic communications made or stored in private devices and accounts are maintained in accordance with these obligations. This article outlines California regul...