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.

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

By:Roman Muñoz, Jessica Ozalp -

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:Travis Cochran -

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 ...

REMINDER: The New Requirements for Postsecondary Institutions to Address Sexual Harassment of Students Become Effective January 1, 2022

By:Sarah Fama -

December 2021Number 49On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 493, requiring postsecondary institutions to take certain actions and implement certain procedures related to sexual harassment prevention and handling complaints of sexual harassment. Lozano Smith Client News Brief Number 81 provides an overview regarding the new requirements and provides important takeaways for Postsecondary Institutions. Postsecondary Institutions must be in compliance with the new require...

Bid Thresholds Raised For 2022

By:Ruth Mendyk, Kelly Rem -

December 2021Number 46According to the California Department of Education Office of Financial Accountability and Information Services, pursuant to Public Contract Code section 20111(a), the bid threshold for K-12 school districts’ purchases of equipment, materials, supplies and services (except construction services) has been adjusted to $99,100, effective January 1, 2022. The notice may be viewed here.The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office is expected to announce a...

PERB Holds that Employers Have a Duty to Negotiate in Good Faith Regarding the Effects of Mandatory Vaccination Policies Prior to Implementation

By:Sarah Kaatz, Brooke Bolton Tiutan -

August 2021Number 22On July 26, 2021, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) issued a decision finding that while the decision to adopt a mandatory influenza vaccination policy implemented by the Regents of the University of California (University) was outside the scope of representation, the University's failure to meet and confer in good faith over the effects of the policy, prior to implementation, constituted an unlawful unilateral change in violation of the Higher Education Employe...

New Law Allows School and Community College Districts to Adopt Trustee Areas Without Holding an Election for Voter Approval

By:Ryan Tung, Jonathan Berry-Smith -

August 2021Number 19Effective on January 1, 2022, a county committee on school district organization will be able to approve a school district or community college district’s adoption of a by-trustee area election method, without calling an election to seek voter approval.BackgroundMany school districts and community college districts’ governing board members are elected at-large, meaning that each board member is elected by voters of the entire district. Districts that hold elect...