Community Colleges / Higher Education

Dannis Woliver Kelley’s work representing community college districts in facilities, labor and employment, education law, state mandates and incorrect reduction claims, and litigation matters is an important and growing part of our practice.  We offer community college districts effective and prompt legal services in these key areas, staffed by experienced lawyers throughout the state.  Dannis Woliver Kelley represents almost exclusively community college districts and school districts.  We don’t have the concerns inherent in many other firms’ work for private clients with potentially adverse interests.

Facilities and Construction

DWK advises and represents community colleges throughout California on all phases of their construction programs.  At the outset, we advise on funding and bond matters, staffing issues, and environmental compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.  We draft and negotiate contracts and procurement documents for architects, program/construction managers, and other consultants.  We help clients through the construction procurement process, bidding, and bid disputes.  During construction, we are part of the team that enforces contract terms with builders as well as with the district’s own team.  We structure and enforce contractual closeout requirements for all participants.

We also regularly represent community colleges in claims and litigation arising from construction programs.  Recent engagements have included multi-million dollar procurement litigation arising from “pay to play” allegations against key team members; defending significant litigation matters brought by a multinational construction firm that also tied in the architects and construction managers; making claims against architects based on ill-conceived or poorly executed designs of college buildings; and settling a substantial claim against the designers of an innovative but ineffective building heating and cooling system on a flagship building.  Along with aggressively representing our clients in litigation, we have developed a recognized expertise in mediating construction matters of all sizes and types, getting cost-effective advantageous results early on in the litigation or claims process.

Labor and Employment

Our community college labor and employment practice is engaged in all aspects of collective bargaining, as well as advising and representing clients in the myriad aspects of employment issues that arise in the administration of a college program.  Because we have clients throughout the state, we are aware of trends that enable us to represent each client better.

We advise and represent clients in all types of personnel matters, including academic and classified layoffs, collective bargaining, employment claims, dismissal hearings, and compliance with federal and state labor laws.

Other Areas

Dannis Woliver Kelley has extensive expertise in handling all forms of civil rights, discrimination and sexual harassment litigation.  We advise and represent community college districts in state mandate and incorrect reduction claims. Our litigation experience extends to all types of tort liability claims, including personal injury, employment and business related claims.


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