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.

Los Angeles, San Diego, Bakersfield
Fresno, Sacramento, Bakersfield
Junaid  Halani Senior Counsel
Michael E. Smith Of Counsel
Sacramento, Fresno, San Luis Obispo
Los Angeles, San Diego

Ninth Circuit Confirms Title IX Protections for Perceived Sexual Orientation

By:Sloan Simmons, Sarah Fama -

August 2023Number 29The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of perceived sexual orientation. BackgroundIn Grabowski v. Arizona Board of Regents (9th Cir. June 13, 2023) Case No. 22-15714, Michael Grabowski alleged that while he was a “first-year student-athlete, his teammates subjected him to frequent ‘sexual and homophobic bullying’ because they perceived h...

Legislature Launches Pilot Program Allowing CMAS Contracts for Installation of Certain Materials SB 1422

By:Arne Sandberg, Arielle Percival -

July 2023Number 26Senate Bill (SB) 1422, signed by the Governor in September 2022, permits State and local agencies, including school districts and community college districts, to use State-approved California Multiple Award Schedule (CMAS) contracts for the installation, or purchase and installation, of resilient flooring, carpet, lighting fixtures, and synthetic turfs, which have limitations that are different from standard CMAS contracts.BackgroundExisting law allows local agencies to use ...

California Supreme Court Clarifies What Constitutes a "Protected Disclosure" for Whistleblower Claims Under Labor Code Section 1102.5

By:Fabiola Rivera, Matthew Lear -

June 2023Number 23On May 22, 2023, the California Supreme Court issued an opinion further delineating the analysis for retaliation claims under Labor Code section 1102.5.  In People ex rel. Garcia Brower v. Kolla’s, Inc. (2023) 529 P.3d 49) (Kolla’s), the California Supreme Court held that “a protected disclosure under [Labor Code] section 1102.5(b) encompasses reports or complaints of a violation made to an employer or agency even if the recipient already knows of the ...

Department of Education Releases Proposed Title IX Rule for Transgender Athletes

By:Roxana Khan, Monica Batanero, Emma Sol -

On April 6, 2023, the United States Department of Education (Department) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, specifically focusing on sex-related eligibility for athletic teams.  This proposed rule would apply to all public school institutions that receive federal funding, including community colleges and public K-12 schools.  Full text of the proposed rule can be found here:

California Equal Pay Act: New Rules on Pay Transparency, Record-Keeping, and Pay Data Reporting

By:Chelsea Olson Murphy, Jaspreet Lochab-Dogra -

April 2023Number 17On September 27, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 1162 into law.  SB 1162, effective January 1, 2023, imposes new record-keeping, disclosure, and data reporting requirements for job pay scales and pay data.Pay TransparencyPreviously, California law required employers with 15 or more employees to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant upon request.  Employers were also prohibited from asking applicants about their salary history during th...

NCAA Requires Member Schools to Collect Discipline Records from Athlete's Prior Schools

By:Carolyn Gemma, Emma Sol -

April 2023Number 16At the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors’ Policy on Campus Sexual Violence (Policy) went into effect.  This Policy requires NCAA member schools to collect disciplinary information from K-12 school districts, community colleges, and other post-secondary institutions, previously attended by their incoming and continuing classes of student athletes.More specifically, NCAA member schools are r...

District Court Rules College Policy Prohibiting "Inappropriate or Offensive" Student Postings May Violate Students' Free Speech Rights

By:Trevin Sims, Jaspreet Lochab-Dogra -

March 2023Number 12The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction preventing a community college from enforcing a policy that prohibited student posted material that was “inappropriate” or “offensive.” (Flores v. Bennett (E.D. Cal., October 14, 2022, No. 1:22-cv-01003) __ F.3d __.)BackgroundIn November 2021, Alejandro Flores, a student at Clovis Community College (College) and founder of the local chapter of the ...