Liebert Cassidy Whitmore is a full-service law firm for public education clients. We provide general counsel, labor and litigation advice and assistance to a variety of educational institutions in all legal aspects of education, employment, labor relations, business, construction, and facilities.
As matters arise, we take a proactive approach to achieve an effective resolution. 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 for Civil Rights, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the State Office of Administrative Hearings, the U.S. Department of Labor’s, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, including Cal-OSHA and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), and the State of California’s Department of General Services, including the Division of the State Architect (DSA).
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 routinely advise on a variety of business and facilities issues facing our education clients. Our construction law advice spans all stages of construction projects, from inception through project completion and beyond. 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, community college districts and 4-year colleges and universities. To learn more about our independent school law services, visit our Private Education Practice page.
Our attorneys are experienced in negotiating and interpreting collective bargaining agreements under the EERA and HEERA for faculty as well as classified personnel. We provide advice and counsel on issues affecting labor relations between management and staff and we handle all aspects of labor relations disputes including contract administration (including advice on grievances, handling of arbitrations, contract interpretation) and PERB proceedings (representation cases, unfair practice cases, impasse determination and other matters).
We have extensive experience in all types of employment matters. We handle employment harassment, discrimination or retaliation claims. We review and draft bylaws, faculty and staff handbooks, personnel procedures and policies, enrollment agreements and related documents. We handle layoffs as well as employee discipline, including terminations and appeals, for certificated/academic and classified employees. We advise regularly on employee fringe benefits and retirement issues (e.g., FMLA, STRS, PERS, COBRA). We are also experienced in handling wage and hour issues (e.g. FLSA) and employment issues specific to specially funded employees or campus safety departments.
We provide advice to school and community college districts on all aspects of administration and governance. We assist in questions related to budget, finance, audits and audit responses. We are experts in the areas of conflicts of interest including Government Code section 1090 conflicts, Political Reform Act conflicts, and common law conflicts of interest. Clients regularly call on us to offer advice and counsel about whether a conflict exists, and what the effect the conflict has. We routinely train on all types of conflict of interest topics. We have advised many clients as they move from at-large to district elections and from odd-year to even-year elections. We are expert on the issues that arise with a change in election practices. Finally, we are passionate about the Brown Act and all the many issue that come up regarding agendas, proper reporting out, and what information is proper in closed session.
We regularly advise school and community college districts on the complex issues involving student affairs. We address student discipline, student harassment, investigations, and withdrawal from school or college. We frequently provide advice on student attendance issues, including SARB procedures. We are knowledgeable regarding student work permit issues.
We regularly advise public entities regarding the complexities of First Amendment issues, including free speech, and reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. We have often dealt with other civil rights questions, including the sometimes-thorny issues of discrimination and harassment, as well as Title IX, and sexual misconduct on campus.
We assist instructional staff to address issues such as meeting courses enough hours to grant instructional credit, minimum qualifications and credential issues, bilingual instruction questions. Our attorneys have extensive experience in various special education questions including denial of FAPE, IEP issues, stay-put questions, and proper 504 plans.
We have extensive experience with preparing, reviewing, and advising on student handbooks, student contracts, individual behavior contracts and related questions. Our clients often call on us to address breaches of student contracts.
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. For more information, visit the Litigation Services section of our website.
Examples of cases we are currently handling or have handled include:
LCW attorneys regularly conduct investigations on behalf of community college and K-12 districts and 4 -year colleges and universities involving the full range of workplace and student-related issues, including allegations of discrimination, harassment, student/faculty misconduct and policy violations. We are experienced in conducting Title IX investigations and investigations of on- and off-campus incidents, including those that occur during internships or clinical assignments. We have several ATIXA certified investigators. We understand how to work with administrators and local law enforcement to conduct a prompt and appropriate investigation. To learn more about this area of expertise, visit our Investigations Practice page.
LCW represents community college and K-12 districts in various business, construction and facilities matters. We provide a full range of advice related to the business administration of a district, including contract review and contract negotiations. We advise on all aspects of construction projects, from bidding through completion and handle facilities issues such as ADA, leasing, and intergovernmental agreements. Our clients trust us to provide risk assessment, offer legal options, and strive to efficiently resolve claims if they arise. To learn more about this area of expertise, visit our Business, Construction, and Facilities Practice page.
Since 2000, 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. Using this experience we can assist your school, college, or university create legally compliant, policies and procedures to protect your district, and meet all your obligations to students, employees, members of the public, and members of your governing board.
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore is well- known for the quality of our training. We provide training to school and community college districts as well as 4-year colleges and universities on the full range of employment, student, educational and operational issues. Our trainers are experienced public education law attorneys who regularly advise top school, college, and university administrators and governing boards and train on a variety of board level and governance issues.
Our attorneys are regularly sought after to present at statewide and regional conferences including the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA), the Community College League of California (CCLC), the Association for Chief Human Resources Officers (ACHRO), the Association of Chief Business Officers (ACBO), the Chief Executive Officers group (CEO), the Chief Instructional Officers (CIOs). In addition, LCW has Employment Relations Consortiums comprised solely of educational institutions.
Our trainings are highly interactive and provide important information, tools, and best practices to help California educational administrators confront the many challenges they face each day. These trainings also help reduce liability. By increasing awareness of legal risks, and providing tools and strategies to address them, we help our clients keep risk at bay.
We offer 60 different trainings on topics administrators regularly deal with, including:
We also offer customized training targeted to specific needs and issues. We can provide our trainings at your campus, an off- campus location, in our five statewide officers, by webinar, or video conference. Explore our calendar to find a training of interest.
We are well-versed in the many nuances of the ACA. Our team of ACA attorneys stays current on the quickly evolving legal developments in this area. We can assist with compliance issues and analyze how collective bargaining agreements with faculty and classified staff might impact ACA compliance. To learn more about this area of expertise, visit our Affordable Care Act Practice page.