Higher Education and School District Attorney

Attorney Randy Geller’s practice is principally devoted to advising educational institutions. His clients range from small religious colleges to major public universities and school districts.  Randy’s practice has involved many of the major issues in American education, such as governance and accountability; freedom of speech and management of protests; sexual misconduct and sexual harassment; confidentiality of student records; campus safety; and the federal government’s ever-increasing regulation of education. Randy’s practical approach to problem-solving, keen awareness of internal and external political issues, and understanding of financial and organizational constraints are the result of 19 years at two public research universities. Most recently, he was the General Counsel to University of Oregon, one of five senior officials reporting directly to the president.

Randy routinely works with educational clients on matters involving institutional governance and best practices; Title IX policies and investigations; student discipline; FERPA and public records; open meetings; accreditation; and labor and employment law in unionized and non-unionized workplaces, including collective bargaining.  He defends schools and colleges in civil investigations and assists them with major initiatives and projects, news media inquiries, and crisis management.

Randy played a key role in drafting and negotiating Oregon Senate Bill 270 (2013), establishing independent government boards and independent authority for Oregon’s public universities – the first major governance change in Oregon since 1929. He worked on the dissolution of the Oregon University System, the transfer of major assets and liabilities to the seven public universities, and the development and implementation of the University of Oregon’s transition plan and the transfer of authority to the newly-established Board of Trustees.

In other areas, Randy helped steer the University of Oregon through a major NCAA investigation of the Ducks’ highly-ranked football program; planned, managed and supervised collective bargaining with a new faculty labor union; and handled a wide variety of complex regulatory and transactional matters. He is the author of Criminal Conduct by Students: The Institution’s Response, National Association of College and University Attorneys (2007).

How I Serve Clients

I help colleges, universities, and school districts address a wide variety of challenging issues at the intersection of education, institutional management, public policy, and the law.  I serve in capacities ranging from external general counsel to crisis manager to manager of projects for which there is often no defined path.

With years of general counsel experience at a major university, I offer not only legal advice, but also practical advice to help clients manage problems and implement effective solutions so that small problems do not become large ones.

Representative Matters while at Harrang Long

  • Oriented public university boards and senior administrators on governance and accountability.
  • Audited policy and procedure under Title IX, Violence Against Women Act, and Clery Act for large educational client with high profile sexual misconduct matters.
  • Defended private educational client before Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education in sexual misconduct matter with multiple complainants.
  • Counseled religious institution on effect of changes made by Trump Administration to Title IX guidance.
  • Represented large educational client in high profile employment claim brought by a former senior administrator.
  • Counseled large educational client on high profile matter involving repeated sexual misconduct by employee.
  • Consulted for large educational client on potential legislation for statewide governance reform.
  • Defended large educational client in high profile matter involving the disclosure to regional news organization of information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
  • Counseled large educational client on defense and indemnity of former general counsel in a high-profile dispute.

Other Representative Matters

  • Drafted bylaws and foundational documents for newly-established Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon.
  • Lead University negotiator for establishment of Public Universities Risk Management and Insurance Trust under Oregon Tort Claims Act.
  • Lead University negotiator for establishment of Shared Services Enterprise supporting seven public universities.
  • Advised on laws addressing access to higher education by undocumented resident immigrants.
  • Negotiated and drafted employment agreements for head football coaches, head men’s basketball coach, director of athletics, and numerous other coaches.
  • Managed and supervised litigation regarding subpoenas issued by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) concerning peer-to-peer file sharing by students.
  • Defended investigation by executive and legislative branches of government regarding conflict of interest in the Reading First program.
  • Drafted and advised on numerous federally funded research agreements.
  • Advised on conflict of interest and research misconduct policies required by the federal government.
  • Advised on human subjects' research, the responsibilities of the Institutional Review Board, and animal care and use regulations.
  • Advised on allowable costs and other issues arising under OMB Circulars governing higher education institutions.
  • Advised on numerous student discipline and academic misconduct matters.
  • Negotiated and drafted Facility Use Agreement with minor league baseball team.
  • Negotiated and drafted agreements for hosting the U.S.A. Olympic Track & Field Trials and the U.S.A. Track & Field Championships.
  • Negotiated and drafted multimedia rights agreement with IMG College for University athletic properties.
  • Negotiated with Fox Television regarding rights to local broadcasts of football games.
  • Advised on Fourth Amendment, Electronic Communications Privacy Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and acceptable use of computing resources.
  • Oregon State Bar
  • Washington State Bar
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law
  • B.A. (Political Science/Political Economy), The Evergreen State College

Publications

  • Author, Criminal Conduct by Students: The Institution’s Response, National Association of College and University Attorneys (2007).
  • Co-editor (with Abigail Byman), Intellectual Property in Academe: A Legal Compendium, National Association of College and University Attorneys (2001).

Presentations

  • Speaker, The Times They Are A-Changin’: Surviving Transition, National Association of College and University of Attorneys Annual Conference (2014).
  • Speaker, Fundamentals of Real Estate Transactions: Due Diligence and Practice Pointers, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (2010).
  • Speaker, P2P War Stories: Tales from the Trenches, Cornell University Institute for Computer Policy and Law (2009)
  • Discussion Leader, P2P File-Sharing News: A Peer-to-Peer Discussion Group, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (2008).
  • Speaker, Student Disciplinary Issues in Higher Education, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (2007).
  • Moderator, The Return of In Parens Patriae -or- What Makes Our Relationship with Students Special? National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (2005).
  • Speaker, Legal Issues in Student Housing, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (2001).
  • Moderator, Revisiting In Loco Parentis: A Crazy Notion?, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (2000).
  • Speaker, Legal Issues in Admissions and Financial Aid, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (1999).