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 advice and litigation
  • 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.

Legislation Roundup: New Holidays, Extended Statute of Limitations for Mandatory Reporter Violations, and Health Benefits for Striking Employers

By:Gabriela Flowers, Crystal Pizano -

November 2022Number 52September was a busy month for Governor Newsom, who signed into law several bills which will have a significant impact on public employers.  Included in the new legislation are bills creating new State holidays; extending the statute of limitations for prosecution of mandated reporters for failure to report child abuse or neglect; and requiring continued health benefits for striking public employees.HolidaysOn September 29, 2022, Governor Newson signed both Assembly...

AB 2508: Reimagining Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in Schools

By:Sarah Garcia, Kaitlyn Tucker -

October 2022Number 50The COVID-19 pandemic certainly exacerbated, and in some ways highlighted, the challenges posed by student mental health issues.  The problem has received national attention, with many commenters characterizing it as a crisis.  In California specifically, over 284,000 young people cope with major depression, and suicide rates increased significantly between 2019 and 2020.  To combat this crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California’s “Mast...

New Options for Local Legislative Bodies to Access Public Meetings Remotely

By:Ryan Tung, Anne Collins -

October 2022Number 48State lawmakers have given members of local legislative bodies a new option for remote participation in public agency meetings.Assembly Bill (AB) 361 previously provided for remote attendance during declared emergencies through January 1, 2024.  Now, effective January 1, 2023, AB 2449 retains existing Brown Act teleconferencing requirements for non-emergency situations, but also provides an additional opportunity for remote attendance even when there is no state of e...

New Pathway to Diploma and Other AB 181 Impacts on Special Education

By:Jennifer Baldassari, Alyssa Bivins -

August 2022Number 39Assembly Bill (AB) 181, signed into law June 30, 2022, makes a number of changes to California special education laws impacting students, families, and local educational agencies (LEAs).  AB 181 became effective immediately.New Pathway to Diploma for Students Taking Alternate AssessmentsAmong other changes, AB 181 creates an alternate pathway to a high school diploma for students with significant cognitive disabilities.  With AB 181’s addition of section 51...

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds a Community College Board's Censure of a Board Member

By:Roman Muñoz -

April 2022Number 18On March 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court decided a case relevant to public agency governing boards managing disruptive board members. The case was originally brought by David Wilson, an elected trustee on the Houston Community College Board. Wilson had made a number of public accusations against his fellow board members. He sued after the Board censured him for his disruptive comments, arguing the censure violated his First Amendment rights.In Houston Community Co...

Cautionary Click Tale: California Court of Appeal Holds that Online Pop-Up Provides Adequate Notice of Binding Agreement Terms

By: -

April 2022Number 17In B.D. v. Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (Mar. 29, 2022, No. D078506)    Cal.App.5th    , the California Court of Appeal held that a pop-up license agreement used for an online videogame provided adequate notice to users that they would be bound by its terms, including a requirement for binding arbitration. This case highlights the potential risks and benefits of using pop-up license agreements.BackgroundB.D., a minor, and his father (together, Plain...

The Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Will No Longer Enforce a Portion of the 2020 Amendments to Title IX Regulations

By:Sarah Fama, Carolyn Gemma -

January 2022Number 1Following a recent decision by a federal district court in Massachusetts, the United States Department of Education (DOE) published a bulletin stating that its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will no longer enforce the “Suppression Clause” of the 2020 Amendments to the Title IX Regulations (2020 Amendments). The impact of this decision is that educational institutions who receive federal funds (Recipients), can individually decide whether they want to remove the ...