What's it like to work with F3?
There are many good reasons why many of the community college districts with which we work have been with F3 for decades. The close relationships. The flexibility. The ongoing communications. You know you can call us when there is a question you need answered or an issue you need resolved immediately and expect an answer. More than that, though, we come to know you so well that we can anticipate issues you may face – maybe before you do – and we’ll proactively let you know what we see coming.
What can F3 solve for you?
A quicker question to answer would be what can’t we solve for you. As one of the leading education-focused law firms in California and the nation, we have the breadth of service that only exceptional, full-service firms can offer – but we are almost exclusively focused on education and educators. We know all the moving parts of running a K-12 district, most of which apply to community colleges as well, but we also understand the nuanced differences in governance, funding, the students, employment, and other elements unique to community colleges.
As with all the California education communities we serve, we strive every day to help California deliver on its promise of excellence in public education, ensuring that all students are provided the opportunity to realize their individual potential. We accomplish this in part by providing a complete range of legal services to a significant percentage of California’s 72 community college districts, along with their 116 colleges and campus centers throughout the state, and the many organizations that support them. Few law firms have F3’s dedication, experience, and complete focus on ensuring the success of our state’s public education institutions, including our renowned community college system.
A typical day for our community college team includes anything from assisting with general obligation bond management to drafting and reviewing construction and consulting agreements; from working with the board on governance matters to helping HR resolve thorny employment questions. We’re helping districts comply with the many community college-related provisions of California Education Code (Title 3, Division 7), as well as with other state and federal mandates, as well as advising on student matters like discipline and more. In other words, much as we have done historically for our many K-12 school district clients, we’re doing for community colleges – with important distinctions.
Governance counsel from top to bottom
We support the California Board of Governors, the California Community College Trustees (CCCT) Board, chancellors and vice-chancellors, and others as they administer the largest system of higher education in the country, preparing about 1.8 million students for further education and careers. Our attorneys often attend board of trustees meetings and consult on a wide variety of matters ranging from facilities to compliance with the California Education Code.
Compliance with many and evolving regulations
Advising on compliance with federal and state laws is a fundamental part of our practice. For starters, we help ensure community colleges adhere to Title VII and Title IX regulations as well as California’s Brown Act, which assures public access to meetings of local government agencies, and the Public Records Act, which gives the public access to all public records not exempted from disclosure by law. Equally, we’re here to help untangle and comply with the community college-related provisions of the California Education Code.
The legal side of business, facilities, and construction
Community colleges are indeed a business with day-to-day operational needs such as procurement and bigger projects like sophisticated facilities and construction programs. Campuses may have multiple buildings with various programs in place for real estate acquisition, new construction, renovation, facilities upgrades, and more. From agreements and contracts to biding and procurement of all kinds and managing disputes that arise, our clients count on us to help them meet both their everyday needs and long-term educational objectives.
The full spectrum of labor and employment counsel
F3 is almost like having education-focused employment lawyers on site. Our goal is simple: taking care of the legal side so colleges can do what they do best: educate students. Community colleges are incredibly complex legal entities with traditional employment matters and some that are unique to public education. We regularly advise on collective bargaining, hiring practices, employment agreements, promotion and tenure policies, terminations, resolving conflicts, and a great deal more.
The legal side of all things technological
We call them “eMatters” attorneys because they provide legal counsel and services related to all things technological in California community colleges. The California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA) leaders rely on F3 to provide informed advice in this fast-moving and often controversial area of education. In fact, F3 has assisted CETPA in forming the largest consortium of software services in the country. Technology, in particular, is an area in which our clients expect us to keep them abreast of all regulations as they evolve, including matters related to privacy, cybersecurity, employee and student online conduct, and beyond.
Dispute and litigation management from negotiations to trials and appeals
As with any educational institution with property, facilities, employees, students, and regulatory compliance, disputes occur and need to be resolved by negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or when necessary in court. F3 attorneys are well versed in the kinds of disputes that arise in community colleges and are licensed to practice law before all courts of the State of California, each of the United States District Courts in California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. In addition, we are regularly contacted by the California School Boards Association (CSBA) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to offer opinions on complex litigation. On behalf of CSBA and NSBA, we have authored several amicus briefs for both the state and federal courts on topics ranging from administration of medication to privacy and employee use of employer-provided electronics.
Crisis communications and shaping public perception
We understand well the ability of public opinion to shape perception around legal matters. So, while those legal matters are in the hands of some of the best-regarded education lawyers in the business, our highly experienced crisis communications and media relations pros are prepared to step in on a moment’s notice when needed. Our communications group – including the firm’s Directors of Communications and Government Affairs among others – provides media training, communications audits, counsel on the many specific issues boards and administrators face, and can step in whenever a crisis occurs.
Conducting workshops and presentations
From cyber-bullying and “e-ethics” to the latest changes in special education law, F3 workshops are regarded as the highest quality in the state in both legal content and format. Our firm is widely recognized for delivering presentations that are informative, effective, and enjoyable for the governance team, district cabinet, administration, and staff. We often do presentations for The Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) and the Community College Facility Coalition (CCFC).