Higher Education

Bickerstaff has represented higher education clients, including community colleges and junior colleges, throughout the state. When faced with challenging and heated legal issues, higher education institutions look to our firm for legal guidance and advice.

We represent higher education institutions in numerous areas, including:

Governance

Including advising clients on policy drafting and development, development of handbooks and administrative regulations, conflicts of interest and nepotism issues, dual-office holding questions, official immunity, questions related to the use of public funds, open meetings requirements, public information requests, trustee elections, bond elections, tax rollback elections, M&O tax rate authority, parliamentary procedure, redistricting, voting rights, FERPA and HIPAA issues, and records retention;

Employment Issues

Including assisting clients with proper documentation, evaluation, and discipline of professional employees (including those employed by contract); acting as Board or administration advisors during termination proceedings; advising clients on contract negotiations and extensions, including compensation, benefits, and evaluations of Presidents or chancellors;

Boundary and Annexation Issues

Including assisting community colleges with annexation elections and the annexation process; counseling clients on submission of boundary changes to state and federal agencies for approval through the use of the firm’s in-house GIS mapping department; and advising clients on handling legislative amendments to the statutes relating to the annexation of neighboring territories or reapportionment of service areas by agreement between neighboring college districts;

Public Finance

Including advising clients on financing options (such as GO bonds, revenue bonds, or PFC transactions); assisting clients in interpreting restrictions on the use of bond receipts; counseling clients on analyzing bond documents; and assisting clients in handling all aspects of the proposal, approval, election, and sale of financing instruments;

Real Estate and Construction Projects

Including representing colleges in connection with the acquisition, condemnation, sale, lease, financing and development of real property; assisting clients with title and survey review, environmental site assessment review, and negotiation and drafting of purchase contracts, deeds, leases, easements, and other real estate documents; drafting construction contract documents; and advising clients in the event of construction disputes, including litigating claims;

Litigation, including advising and counseling Boards, Presidents and Chancellors throughout the entire litigation process.