The Lynn Jackson Education Practice Group attorneys have been providing efficient, unobtrusive, and cost-effective guidance in managing education law issues for all levels of institutions for over 40 years. At the K-12 level, the firm’s education lawyers are members of the Counsel of School Attorneys (COSA) and have the first-hand experience necessary to provide expertise in a wide-range of matters, including compliance and regulatory issues.
The firm’s higher education practice covers a wide range of issues impacting public and private institutions, including Title IV federal student aid; Title IX athletics and sex discrimination; student conduct and grievances; employment and tenure; risk management, governance, and accreditation; and investigations, administrative actions, and litigation.
Accreditation is a process of validation against which education institutions (K-12 systems, colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning) are evaluated. In recent years, accrediting bodies have revised accreditation standards to focus on increased transparency and accountability. Moreover, recent news articles report that federal and state education agencies continue to pressure accreditors to increase scrutiny even more and to hold institutions at all levels more accountable for failing to serve students. The Lynn Jackson Education Practice Group is well-versed in regional and national accreditation issues and is prepared to assist institutions with a wide range of services.
Compliance and Governmental & Regulatory Affairs
No doubt institutions at all levels are feeling the impact of expanding federal, state, and other regulatory oversight, to say nothing of the impact of poor coordination among these various forms of oversight. An institution typically experiences on onslaught of compliance reports, checklists, and other responses to pro forma claims that are -- in addition to adding unproductive costs -- constraining innovation, mission fit, and service to students. The Lynn Jackson Education Practice Group attorneys have been providing efficient, unobtrusive, and cost-effective guidance in managing regulatory and compliance issues for all levels of institutions for many years. These issues include FERPA (privacy), campus safety and security, Title IX, institutional policies, federal aid audits and reporting, employment practices, state education agency requirements, records retention, emergency notification, student services, etc.
Effective governance structures are essential for education institutions at all levels. An unstable governing board may have long-term negative consequences for an entire system. Recently, one state governor even attempted to fire an entire board. These governance issues have included a lack of appropriate ethics and conflict of interest policies for the institution and governing body, the governing body lacks new board member orientation program, the governing board does not have a clearly defined set of bylaws, failure of administration to properly inform its board through appropriate reports and documentation, lack of policies that govern the institution's ongoing activities (e.g., affirmative action, human resources, research activities, contracts, required disclosures, etc.), the governing body does not appreciate the necessary line between oversight and inserting itself in the administration of the institution, lack of a program for the ongoing development of board members, failure to develop a risk assessment program, inability of board to engage in effective strategic planning and budgeting, and a lack of sufficient autonomy in making decisions in the best interests of the institution. The Lynn Jackson Education Practice Group attorneys have expertise in these and other matters relating to institutional governance.
Labor Employment Matters in Education
The Lynn Jackson Education Practice Group attorneys provide experienced counsel and representation in all matters of human resources, personnel administration, and collective bargaining in the educational sector. The following represents just some of the legal services these experienced attorneys provide:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Collective Bargaining Issues and Negotiations
- Compliance with Fair Labor Standards Act
- Continuing Contract Issues
- Discrimination claims
- Due Process Complaints
- EEOC Complaints
- Employee/faculty discipline
- Due process issues within the employment relationship (including faculty)
- Employee/faculty performance evaluations
- Employment termination
- FLSA issues
- Impasse procedures, grievance and arbitration procedures, contract implementation and administration issues, union representation proceedings
- Interest-based bargaining and training
- Layoffs, transfers, workplace safety, state and federal leave, discrimination laws, contract and policy administration
- Negotiation of CBAs
- Personnel administration issues
- Public sector labor/management issues
- Wage and hour law
- Workers compensation
The Lynn Jackson Education Practice Group attorneys also provide experienced counsel and representation in student matters, including:
- Compulsory Education
- Due Process
- Expulsion Hearings
- Extracurricular Activities
- Harassment & Discrimination
- Mandatory Reporting
- Open Enrollment
- Record Retention
- Religion in Schools
- Search & Seizure
- Special Education (IDEA)
- Student Drug Testing
- Student Free Speech Rights
- Student Residency
- Suspension Hearings
- Title IX Compliance and Investigations
Perhaps no area of the law has had more impact on education institutions in recent years than Title IX. The U.S. Department of Education has been actively enforcing the law’s protection of people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. This enforcement covers the country’s 16,500 local school districts, 7,000 postsecondary institutions, charter schools, and for-profit schools. Education institutions must be vigilant in the administration of its recruitment, admissions, and counseling functions, as well as financial assistance, athletics, sex-based harassment, treatment of pregnant and parenting students, discipline, single-sex education, and employment. The Lynn Jackson Education Practice Group attorneys are prepared to assist institutions in complying with Title IX requirements, including training programs for students, faculty, and staff.