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.

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon State Bar
  • Washington State Bar
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Memberships

  • National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law
  • B.A. (Political Science/Political Economy), The Evergreen State College

Publications

  • “Comments, Followers and Friends - Government Social Media Accounts and the First Amendment,” Oregon State Bar Bulletin (July 2019).
  • 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

  • Discussion Leader (with Guilherme Costa, Vice President and General Counsel at Ithaca College), Discrimination Issues in a Unionized Environment, National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Conference (2019).
  • 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).