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Friday, January 16, 2015

The field of higher education law involves myriad legal matters affecting the unique regulatory environment in which colleges and universities operate.  The regulatory triad often complicates legal matters that would be routine in another business.  For this reason, educational institutions, and especially proprietary post-secondary schools, should be careful to select counsel experienced in education law.

Homer Bonner Jacobs Ortiz’s comprehensive education law practice is one of the most extensive practices in the country, particularly in its representation of proprietary post-secondary schools.  Put simply, the firm solves the problems that beset educational institutions operating in a very complex regulatory environment.  Educational institutions hire us because we are known within the sector to offer the vital service of efficiently identifying, analyzing, resolving, and preventing a broad range of legal issues in a dynamic and increasingly hostile marketplace.

The firm practices preventative law.  We spend much of our time advising institutions on how to avoid administrative and regulatory issues that might arise from the operation of the institution, including in the areas of licensing and accreditation, lead generation, student admission and enrollment, financial aid, academics, career services, placement, and incentive compensation, as well as how to handle faculty and employment issues.  We work daily with institutions to manage compliance with federal and state law and accreditor standards to determine methods to avoid liability.  The firm has developed in-house training programs on a variety of educational issues and regularly performs workplace audits designed to uncover and solve state and federal law compliance issues.  Our education law attorneys also know how to structure and negotiate education-related contracts, enrollment agreements and disclosures, arbitration agreements, leases and other agreements, and can assist with internal grievance and disciplinary procedures.

We also conduct independent or assisted internal investigations regarding any type of complaint that might arise in a regulated school, including Sarbanes-Oxley issues, institutional and programmatic accreditor and U.S. Department of Education issues, student complaints, and employee misconduct relating to admissions, financial aid, academics, and placement.

The firm litigates and tries cases on behalf of schools in federal and state courts and arbitration and administrative hearings around the country. Over the past decade, we doubt that any firm in the country has tried more student cases than Homer Bonner Jacobs Ortiz.  During that time, we have handled hundreds of student cases.  Our aggressive defense of schools includes representation involving employee disputes, business torts, Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases, Fair Labor Standards Act cases, Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions, State Attorney General investigations, and virtually every type of dispute that can arise from the operation of an institution of higher education.

Due to the complex regulatory environment within which proprietary post-secondary schools operate, lead generation companies that provide services to such schools may be subject to liability based on their interactions with prospective students.  The firm advises lead generation companies on how to avoid regulatory and legal issues by, among other things, structuring and negotiating contracts designed to protect the company, and reviewing advertising and promotional materials for compliance with state and federal regulations.  The firm also represents lead generation companies in connection with government inquiries and legal proceedings.

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