Achieving the Mission: Helping Education Clients Avoid and Respond to Civil Rights Claims
HMBR’s team of education lawyers help clients navigate the full range of issues relating to civil rights in education. The Education Practice Group counsels a diverse array of educational institutions, including public and private universities, community colleges, graduate schools, for-profit institutions, and other entities dealing with civil rights matters and related claims under federal and state laws and regulations.
The attorneys in our practice are well-known regionally and nationally for their extensive backgrounds and knowledge in the field of education law. We have served at the highest levels in the U.S. Department of Education, including General Counsel, Deputy General Counsel for Post-Secondary Education, National Enforcement Director in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Deputy Assistant Secretary for OCR. Our experience spans across several administrations and provides us with a unique, inside understanding of how the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies operate and respond to civil rights matters involving educational institutions. These matters include:
- Sexual violence and harassment
- Gender equity in athletics
- Racial and national origin harassment
- Free speech
- Transgender students
- Services for students with disabilities
- Withdrawal and leave policies for students with disabilities
- Accessibility of on-campus and on-line facilities
Comprehensive Services in Civil Rights Matters
HMBR attorneys take a proactive and comprehensive approach to civil rights matters. We work with clients to craft policies aimed at avoiding civil rights claims and developing effective responses when such claims do surface. Our services include:
- Conducting internal investigations of civil rights grievances
- Developing and reviewing institutional policies, procedures and programs to ensure compliance with educational and civil rights laws
- Training faculty, staff and administration
- Providing ongoing consultation on civil rights issues
- Representing clients in U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) cases, administrative cases, and in federal and state court proceedings.
At HMBR, we pride ourselves on being approachable and responsive. Our education clients know that they can count on our team to be available when they need us the most. We also understand that issues involving civil rights claims can be controversial and visible in the public eye. When a sexual harassment, sexual violence, race relations, or other hotbed issue arises, our lawyers work with clients to make certain they are taking the appropriate steps to put themselves in the best position from a legal and public relations perspective.
The attorneys in our practice group are also frequently called upon to share their knowledge and insight with individuals and entities operating across the education industry. We speak at national and regional conferences on matters relating to civil rights in the educational environment. We also work with colleges and universities to develop training programs for their administrators, faculty, and staff members.