The attorneys in the Education Practice are experienced in helping administrators of educational institutions understand and meet legal obligations to employees and students under state and federal law. These attorneys are experienced in dealing with employee and student concerns arising in public and private elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions, from application and admission to termination and expulsion. Our attorneys understand the unique issues and dynamics presented by the school environment. They recognize that each decision made in the school environment affects the school's relationship with its students, parents, faculty and staff.
The Education Practice attorneys conduct compliance audits to identify and correct wage-hour concerns, review and develop contracts, enrollment agreements, applications, handbooks, and manuals for students, employees, and faculty. Our attorneys also develop and assist in implementing arbitration programs for students and employees. Our attorneys work with a school’s governing board to draft executive contracts for Heads of School that comply with the Internal Revenue Code, and they provide advice on appropriate board policy, guidelines, and school policy.
Administrators, managers, and teachers can receive training from attorneys in the Education Practice regarding their obligations to employees and students relating to discrimination, accommodation, harassment, federal funding, contract issues, and various types of torts, including assault, battery, invasion of privacy, and defamation. These attorneys also advise educational institutions on compliance with state and federal discrimination laws, represent the institutions before administrative agencies, and defend lawsuits alleging discrimination in employment and education.
5.0/5.0 Review for Matthew David Westerman by a Partner on 09/03/13 in Employment Law
Mr. Westerman is an exceptional attorney. He displays a vast knowledge of labor and employment law and articulates difficult issues well.
5.0/5.0 Review for Amy Lynn Lessa by a Partner on 04/09/13 in Employment Litigation
Ms. Lessa is my absolute go to person for referrals for employment matters from the employer's prospective.
Ms. Lessa is my absolute go to person for referrals for employment matters from the employer's prospective. Read lessRead less
Law firm response:
Our Firm's commitment to diversity is nearly a half-century old. Our first woman partner was Margie Pitt Hames, hired in 1962. She was soon joined by Dorothy Toth Beasley, now a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. In 1973, Ms. Hames and Judge Beasley made legal history by being the first women attorneys to argue both sides of a case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was Doe v. Bolton, a companion case to Roe v. Wade. Although both were at different firms at the time, Ike Fisher, one of our founders, referred to the historic argument as one of the proudest moments of his career.
Our goal today is to continue that tradition of inclusion, and expand upon it. We strive to recruit, hire, develop, retain and promote diverse attorneys and staff at all levels.
While this spirit of openness is engrained in our spirits, we have also formalized our efforts. We have established a Diversity Committee, composed of partners, of counsel, and associates from across the country, all of whom represent differences in ethnicity, race, gender, religion, lifestyles, backgrounds, and viewpoints. The Diversity Committee's goals can be summarized in five key initiatives:
We actively participate in diversity job fairs, including the Southeastern Minority Job Fair, which has led to our hiring several attorneys of diverse backgrounds. We also participate in the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) job fair, and regularly interview at law schools which boast a large number of minority law students. In addition, our network of recruiters specializes in finding attorneys of color.
Aggressively recruiting qualified women and minority candidates is just a start: we also make every effort to retain them. Our firm-wide mentoring system pairs each associate with a partner-mentor. In addition, each member of the firm's Diversity Committee serves as a liaison to one or more of the firm's offices to provide additional support and resources. The Committee members are also available to help associates with their questions or concerns.
We've developed comprehensive training programs that address not only specialized legal skills in the Labor & Employment law practice, but also general skills such as client communications and marketing – core skills for preparing associates to fulfill roles as partners and leaders.
We're proud that we have a long-standing part-time policy that is tailored to fit the needs of each attorney who requires a reduced schedule. We recognize and appreciate the importance of enabling all attorneys to continue their careers while balancing the demands of professional and family life. Our benefits cover domestic-partner relationships as part of our overall effort to value, respect, and assure equal treatment to all employees regardless of sexual orientation.
We also regularly sponsor and participate in a number of diversity initiatives in our communities and host in-office events for law students and young attorneys from diverse backgrounds. These events are designed to help young attorneys learn how to succeed as associates.
Finally, many of our lawyers are members of, and serve in leadership positions in local and national organizations that help promote diversity in the legal profession, including: the Corporate Counsel Women of Color; the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys; the annual Lavender Law Conference; the National Asian-Pacific American Bar Association; the National Bar Association; and the National Employment Law Council.