Background - Practices (Details)



Representative Matters

Jump to engagement type: Federal Grants and Government Procurement | Academic Affairs and Governance | Academic Medical Centers | Intellectual Property and Life Sciences | Privacy and Cybersecurity | International Regulatory Compliance | International Commercial Ventures | Labor and Employment | Renewable Energy | Campus Crisis Management and Strategic Advising | Investigations | Campaign Finance and Lobbying Law | Claims Recovery

Federal Grants and Government Procurement

  • Counseled a university on its contractual rights and obligations as the majority partner responsible for the operation of a National Laboratory.
  • Advised National Laboratory on Government Contracts issues, including cost allowability issues and contract negotiation risks and strategies.
  • Counseled universities regarding cost accounting regulations and standards for U.S. Government contracts and grants, including labor charging practices, cost allocation methods, and statutory limits on the availability of funds.
  • Represented university in connection with Inspector General investigation of potential overbilling under federal government contracts and grants.
  • Represented university in connection with mandatory disclosures to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Represented university in dispute with prime contractor regarding claims for delay and non-payment.
  • Conducted review and analysis of conflict of interest issues raised by government agency that awarded large research grant.
  • On-going counseling with respect to university's obligations under an operation and management contract for a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, including Buy American and domestic preference requirements.
  • Advised university regarding potential protest under multiple federal government procurements.
  • Assessed risk of termination of contract with university and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Academic Affairs and Governance

  • Conducted internal investigations and advised universities with respect to resolving Title IX complaints, and developing and implementing Title IX compliance procedures, including the intersection with FERPA and other laws.
  • Represented Hastings College of the Law, University of California, in a landmark First Amendment case before the United States Supreme Court regarding a student group's expressive association rights.  The Court upheld the law school's decision not to fund a religious student group after the group refused to comply with the school's nondiscrimination and open membership policies. See Christian Legal Soc'y v. Martinez, 130 S. Ct. 2971 (2010), on remand, Christian Legal Soc'y v. Wu, 626 F.3d 483 (9th Cir. 2010).
  • Advising on regulatory compliance with Department of Education Program Integrity Regulations. 
  • Advising on various aspects of Sanctuary Campus issues.
  • Submitted amicus brief to United States Supreme Court in support of the University of Texas in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin addressing the University of California's experience with race-neutral admissions practices after the enactment of Proposition 209; advised other universities on developing race-neutral admissions and scholarship annual processes.
  • Defended against federal preemption and constitutional challenges to university's reliance on state law entitling certain California high school graduates, including undocumented immigrant students, to pay in-state tuition in the state's public colleges and universities. See Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, 50 Cal. 4th 1277 (2010), cert. denied, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4299 (June 6, 2011). Advised other universities on similar issues involving in-state tuition benefits for undocumented alien students.
  • Defended university against class action seeking damages and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 following a widely publicized confrontation between police and protesters in which university police officer deployed pepper spray. 
  • Defended university against federal grand jury subpoena of a doctoral candidate's research record developed through interviews in which the candidate had promised not to disclose such record pursuant to the human subject research protocol.
  • Obtained temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctions against animal research activist organization that threatened university employees; defeated SLAPP motion and won summary judgment for the university.
  • Defended large urban public school system in class action and federal enforcement action alleging violations of EEOA, Title VI and Title II, in provision of services to English Language Learners.
  • Defended large urban public school system in class action alleging violations of IDEA in the provision of special education and related services.
  • Filed amicus brief in support of public university challenging application of political conflict-of-interest statutes to university faculty.
  • Represented institution in connection with suspension by the Department of Justice following audit by the Department of Justice Inspector General.

Academic Medical Centers

  • Defended, and settled with no consideration paid to plaintiff class, class action seeking up to $700 million in statutory damages arising out of alleged disclosure of protected medical records by university medical center in violation of the state Confidentiality of Medical Information Act.
  • Represented university-affiliated research institution in USDA financial and administrative review of institutional use of grant funds to determine compliance with federal administrative requirements, cost principles, and implementing regulations. 
  • Defended major academic medical center in qui tam action brought under the federal False Claims Act; relator alleged that center's medical faculty failed to follow Medicare billing requirements in certain circumstances.
  • Represented academic medical centers regarding traditional reimbursement and commercial transaction issues in addition to matters involving scientific integrity (e.g., misconduct, disqualification), research objectivity (e.g., financial conflicts of interest), human subjects research and the Common Rule, FDA reporting obligations, the Shelby Amendment expansion of the Freedom of Information Act, HIPAA compliance, inventorship and technology transfer, and the NIH grants process.
  • Worked with research institutions to craft specific policies to comply with evolving privacy regulations and the Anti-Kickback Act and Stark law regulations. 
  • Provided antitrust guidance regarding collaborative activities among research centers, managed care center networks, protocols for clinical trial administration and reporting, and business and clinical affiliations with community hospitals and medical practices.
  • Represented public university in contract disputes with sponsors of clinical trials.
  • Counseled several academic centers in responding to whistleblower allegations and HHS investigations of billing practices in anesthesiology and neurosurgery programs.
  • Represented university in responding to third-party subpoenas in administrative proceeding for revocation of physician’s license.

Intellectual Property and Life Sciences

  • Won summary judgment on behalf of major research university in licensing dispute involving claims by a pharmaceutical company that university had improperly licensed rights to other compounds to a rival company.
  • Counseled universities as to unique intellectual property issues arising in grant agreements with the federal government and not-for-profit entities, and in sponsored research agreements with for-profit companies. 
  • Counseled universities in patent and trademark prosecution, negotiating licensing agreements, and revising intellectual property policies. 
  • Seconded intellectual property attorney to provide in-house support to major research university.
  • Advised various not-for-profit organizations on intellectual property issues related to sponsored research and negotiating grant agreements and multi-party collaboration agreements relating to the research.
  • Brought action on behalf of university to recover monies owed under the Exclusive License Agreement relating to sublicensing income.  
  • Evaluated license agreement and advised on possible legal claims.

Privacy and Cybersecurity

  • Counseled University system with respect to privacy issues throughout their contracts, including drafting vendor agreements to ensure PCI compliance, and updating standard templates to cover Confidentiality, Indemnification, Notification of Incidents and other security best practices. Negotiated a payment processing agreement with a large financial institution handling credit card transactions for the university.
  • Defended University against claims that it exposed confidential health information of patients and students against class action claims. Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement for client.
  • Represented university vendor that suffered a large security incident affecting institutions across the United States.  Worked with the universities to identify affected student population, understand notification obligations, and remediate the security issues.  Drafted follow up agreements tightening security language for protection of student personally identifiable information.
  • Assisted in investigating breach of cybersecurity and theft of intellectual property and reporting to law enforcement.
  • Counseled university health centers on HIPPA and FERPA compliance issues.

International Regulatory Compliance

  • Counseling universities with respect to export control issues in conducting joint international research projects associated with space exploration.
  • Preparation of guidance on scope of fundamental research exclusion from export controls and application in both research and classroom settings.
  • Preparation of advisory opinion requests concerning export control status of products developed through university and collaborative research projects.
  • Internal investigation and voluntary disclosures of potential export control violations involving university and research center projects.
  • Advised on preparation of petitions to Commerce and Customs and Border Protection for favorable import duty treatment for laser interferometer components.
  • Counseled institution with respect to preparation of commodity jurisdiction request and/or possible voluntary disclosure in relation to qualifying a commercial laser module for classified Air Force satellite.
  • Counseling clients with respect to the scope of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related policies.

International Commercial Ventures

  • Acted as lead counsel in connection with a series of public-private partnership transactions with the Ministry of Health in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to design and develop emergency shock trauma facilities in five hospitals, and subsequently, to manage and operate all such facilities; work includes all aspects of the corporate, commercial, government contracts, IP and regulatory issues related to this project. 

Labor and Employment

  • Successful defense of wrongful termination and "whistleblower" claims brought by the former dean of a major medical school.  Obtained favorable decision from administrative tribunal as well as summary judgment in court.
  • Successfully represented university in arbitration dispute with Union involving interpretation of collective bargaining agreement and related wage and back pay dispute. 
  • Negotiated favorable resolution of multiple-defendant race discrimination case filed against university in federal court.
  • Represented public and private institutions of higher education in OFCCP audits resulting in favorable Conciliation Agreements without any monetary remedies.
  • Represented university in OFCCP investigation of race discrimination and retaliation complaint brought by senior human resources official.
  • Litigated to successful resolution employment matters involving university faculty policies and procedures.
  • Secured favorable settlement of tenure denial case involving major private university.
  • Developed best practices guide and provided counseling for university affirmative action programs.
  • Devised and conducted university-wide EEO training tailored for human resources professionals, professors and administrative staff.
  • Represented public university in challenging jurisdiction of California Department of Industrial Relations to impose construction wage schedule for university development project.
  • Advised university regarding Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) compliance issues presented by system-wide payroll conversion process.
  • Defended universities against employment discrimination claims brought by faculty and others. 

Renewable Energy

  • Represented two universities in selecting a supply of approximately 45MW of renewable energy in an RFP process and negotiating power purchase agreements with the developer of the selected facility.
  • Represented the seller in an agreement with Pennsylvania State University for the purchase of energy from a hydroelectric facility.
  • Represented the seller in an agreement with the University of Maryland Medical System for the purchase of energy from a solar facility.
  • Represented the developer in the construction and operation of a rooftop solar facility at the University of San Francisco.
  • Provided general energy advice related to the Regents of the University of California’s energy program.
  • Provided transactional and commercial advice related to the development of the Regents of the University of California’s biogas projects.
  • Provided transactional and commercial advice related to the Regents of the University of California’s energy program and procurement of solar energy.

Campus Crisis Management and Strategic Advising

  • Served as lead outside counsel for a major multi-campus public university in connection with all legal and governmental matters arising out of a much-publicized series of campus protests and other disturbances -- advised senior university officials, the Office of the General Counsel, and campus counsel regarding multiple proceedings and investigations; communicated with stakeholders, including students, faculty, campus police, and other groups; coordinated public relations; and defended university in litigation alleging use of excessive force by the campus police.


  • Conducted internal investigation regarding whistleblower allegations that university violated the False Claims Act by mishandling government funds and provided misleading information in its proposals.
  • Conducted investigation on behalf of a major university system in several high-profile sexual assault cases involving university personnel.
  • Conducted investigation on behalf of large urban public school system of sexual assault incidents and related reporting requirements.
  • Conducted internal investigation on behalf of university in response to complaints of systemic discrimination with respect to alleged hiring and promotion practices, and counseled University in resolving complaints.
  • Conducted internal audits and investigations and represented academic medical center in connection with false claims and other alleged fraud investigations related to medical staff/faculty billings for professional services.
  • Assisted major research institution with internal investigation and response to multiple state and federal investigations, evaluation of self-reporting obligations, subcontract and prime contract issues, and remedial measures resulting from a hazardous waste incident.
  • Assisted public university with response to grand jury subpoenas relating to allegations that employee solicited kickbacks, improper gifts and gratuities, etc.
  • Assisted public university with response to warrant issued pursuant to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Campaign Finance and Lobbying Law

  • Counseled private university regarding campaign finance and lobbying issues.
  • Defended public university against complaint to the Federal Election Commission alleging improper use of university resources in support of a candidate for Congressional office.
  • Advised private university regarding federal gift law issues.
  • Assisted private university in development of policy statements relating to various aspects of political law.

Claims Recovery

  • Recovered nearly $1 million in funds due to universities from settlements established as a result of price fixing in the liquid crystal display market.
  • Submitted claims on behalf of universities in pending matters involving electronics, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and food providers
  • Collected, organized and analyzed voluminous data to determine claims recovery opportunities in multiple pending matters. 
  • On-going counseling with respect to universities’ decision to opt out of class action settlements.