Education Law

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore provides general counsel, labor and litigation advice and assistance to a variety of educational institutions in all aspects of education law, employment law and labor relations.  Our firm takes a problem-solving, preventive law approach as legal counsel.  We strive to assist our clients in avoiding liability through training, workshops and legal advice as matters arise.  We are also, however, experienced in all aspects of hearings, arbitration and litigation including representing our education clients before federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over public entities, including the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Members of the Firm have first-hand experience and in-depth understanding of the special demands of labor relations and employment law as they apply to educational institutions. We are known throughout the state for the breadth and depth of our expertise in representing California schools (public, independent, private, religious and charter) as well as, county offices of education and community college districts.  To learn more about our independent school law, click here.

Our direct experience includes:

Labor Relations and Personnel

  • PERB proceedings (representation cases, unfair practice cases, impasse determination and other matters)
  • Contract administration (including advice on grievances, handling of arbitrations, contract interpretation)
  • Review and drafting bylaws, faculty and staff handbooks, enrollment agreements and related documents
  • Layoff of certificated/academic and classified employees
  • Discipline of certificated/academic and classified employees
  • Employee discipline and termination
  • Review and drafting of personnel procedures and policies
  • Employee fringe benefits issues (e.g., FMLA, STRS, PERS, COBRA)
  • Wage and hour issues (e.g., FLSA)
  • Specially funded employees
  • Employment discrimination/civil rights
  • Harassment investigations
  • Employment litigation, including administrative hearings before hearing officers, arbitrators and personnel commissions
  • Campus Safety  Departments

 School and College Administration

  • Budget and finance
  • Audits and auditors
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Voting rights/responsibilities
  • Brown Act

 Student Affairs

  • Student discipline (including harassment), investigations, withdrawal from school
  • Civil Rights (e.g., Title IX)
  • First Amendment/freedom of expression issues
  • Instructional/legal issues
  • Review and drafting of student contracts, student handbooks, individual behavioral contracts and related materials
  • Student permits/attendance
  • Bilingual education
  • Special Education
  • Breach of contract
  • Educational malpractice

Business and Facilities 

  • Construction contracts and litigation
  • Contracts and purchasing agreements, and related litigation
  • Competitive bidding and contract award
  • Real property (acquisition, sale, lease, Education Code requirements)
  • Intergovernmental agreements
  • Foundations and auxiliary organizations

Model Policy and Procedures

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore has partnered with the Community College League of California, to provide a Board Policy and Administrative Procedure Service.  The Service is designed to assist districts maintain up-to-date Board Policy and Administrative Procedure manuals, by offering sample policies and checklists for procedures that implement board policies that are either legally required, legally advised, or suggested as good practice.  The service also provides workshops and regular updates reflecting changes in laws, regulations, and other standards.

Santa Barbara Schools Legal Services Consortium

This Consortium is composed of a number of school districts in Santa Barbara County for the purpose of providing the districts with a variety of legal services on an economical basis. 

Training Services

LCW has Employment Relations Consortiums comprised solely of educational institutions.  Workshops and reference books focused on the special issues facing educational institutions are also available.  To learn more, visit the training section of our website.

Our attorneys are experts in all phases of litigation in both Federal and State courts: pleading, discovery, motion practice - including summary judgments and summary adjudications, alternative dispute resolution, settlement and trial.

Examples of cases we are currently handling or have handled include:

  • Davenport v. State Center CCD – Federal Court.  Former professor sued the District alleging that it terminated him in retaliation for him allegedly filing a sexual harassment complaint.  We were successful in dismissing Davenport's state law claims at the motion to dismiss stage, partially dismissing his federal retaliation claim in the second motion to dismiss, and later successful on his federal claims in a motion for summary judgment.  
  • Crosby v. South Orange Community College District - the Court of Appeal held that a college could impose reasonable time, place and manner regulations on the use of internet access in a college library.
  • Henderson v. Victor Valley Community College District Board of Trustees - multiple cause of action case in which one cause of action was dismissed at the demurrer stage.  A motion for summary adjudication was awarded for additional causes of action and a court trial was won on the rescission cause of action.  The remaining cause of action for defamation was settled by the individual plaintiff.  
  • De OCampo v. Los Angeles Unified School District – in this 4 plaintiff case alleging gender and race discrimination, a summary judgment was awarded in favor of the District.
  • Johnson & Holley v. Los Angeles Unified School District - Six week bench trial of retaliation, wrongful termination, violation of Education Code Section 45192 causes of action.  Decision for District on all causes.
  • Waldrep v. Los Angeles Unified School District  and Krupin v. Los Angeles Unified School District  - summary judgments obtained on these two separate, but related cases, brought by teachers claiming race discrimination and retaliation.
  • Davenport  v. State Center Community College District – in this unpublished case, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the termination of a tenured faculty member on the grounds of dishonesty and evident unfitness for service. 
  • Tatum v. Chaffey Community College District - obtained summary judgment against a faculty member who breached his sabbatical leave agreement with the district, and successfully defended the judgment in excess of $100,000 on appeal.

Featured Presentations

Liebert Library Demonstration for Community Colleges
September 25, 2014  |  10 AM
LCW has recently launched the Liebert Library - an online collection of trusted legal training and reference materials. Join us for a complimentary webinar that will provide a detailed demonstration of this service and cover features and benefits that are available to our subscribers.
Arbitration Agreements in CA Private School Enrollment Contracts & Employment Agreements
April 29, 2015  |  10 AM
There are multiple pros and cons private schools in California should consider when deciding whether to include arbitration agreements in enrollment contracts and employment agreements. And as of July 1, 2015. California law has attempted to restrict certain claims from being arbitrated. This one-hour webinar will provide an overview of arbitration agreements so that schools can decide for themselves what is right for them. It will also discuss the key legal requirements private school arbitration agreements in California must meet to be enforceable.
New Requirements under California Leave Law: What Private Schools Need to Know!
May 05, 2015  |  11 AM
The Fair Employment and Housing Council recently amended the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations regarding family and medical leave. These changes will go into effect on July 1, 2015, and will alter the implementation and interpretation of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Join us for this webinar, where we will discuss these changes, their similarities and differences to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and how these changes will impact California schools and colleges.
Affordable Care Act: Compliance Issues for California's Private Schools
May 27, 2015  |  10 AM
This one-hour webinar will provide an overview of Affordable Care Act compliance issues California private schools must know NOW and the fast approaching deadlines. We will discuss in depth how you determine whether your school is a large employer subject to the employer mandate and reporting requirements. We will also discuss the required notices your school must provide and answer frequently asked questions, including issues regarding plan arrangements under the ACA.





To Contact Liebert Cassidy Whitmore:
Los Angeles 310.981.2000 | Fresno 559.256.7800 | San Francisco 415.512.3000 | San Diego 619.481.5900
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