The NCHERM Group Legal Representation
Best Practices for Campus Health and Safety
Special Counsel Program
The NCHERM Group is one of the largest and most prominent higher education law practices in the country. The Special Counsel program is a flat-fee annual retainer arrangement in which The NCHERM Group serves as outside counsel to thirty-five colleges and universities.
Why retain The NCHERM Group? The Special Counsel program is useful for colleges that want more of our time and consulting advice, or expert witness services, without the cost of regular daily and hourly fees. We created this program after realizing that for colleges and universities utilizing outside counsel, there is a real hesitation to pick up the phone and get the advice you need (especially creating access for student affairs departments) for fear of running up the meter. So, we took away the meter with a flat-fee.
If you already have in-house or outside counsel, why consider The NCHERM Group? We don’t replace your current legal services, we supplement them. Many of the campuses in the Special Counsel program have attorneys already, and we work collaboratively, and well, together. The advantage is two-fold. First, our specialty is preventive law and training, something many in-house counsel offices don’t have as much time for as they would like. We supplement that need. The second advantage comes from our deep, in fact — unparalleled — understanding of the legal needs and issues facing student affairs, a growing source of liability risk for most campuses. Specialized needs required specialized advice.
The Special Counsel program is especially attractive for campuses with long-term or large-scale projects. For one campus, we are using the program for reviews of the student conduct code and faculty and staff manuals. For another, we are reviewing all the emergency response and crisis protocols. For yet another, the retainer has been used for a long-term student organizations risk management initiative. Another is being used to create a four-year strategic curriculum on high-risk student health and safety issues.
There are two options for how the program works:
In the first option, the college or university appoints The NCHERM Group “Special Counsel for Student Conduct Issues,” “Special Counsel to the President or VP” or provides a similar title, to ensure that the protections of the lawyer-client relationship extend to the work that we do. A flat-fee retainer is paid, covering a one-year period.
In the second option, The NCHERM Group serves the college or university as Special Advisor, though the relationship need not be a formal appointment. While the relationship will not carry the lawyer-client privilege, it will have a consulting nature. Most of the Special Advisor relationships are non-disclosed by clients wishing to maintain our relationship non-publicly.
Additionally, The NCHERM Group offers a Title IX-specific retainer program that allows us to work collaboratively with your campus for a year to audit institutional Title IX compliance comprehensively, and then to systematically address issues of policy, procedures, staffing, training and compliance best practices.
To initiate a retainer, a flat-fee is paid in advance or over the course of a year, covering a one-year period. Once the retainer is in place, The NCHERM Group provides:
- Risk management consultation by NCHERM Partners and/or affiliated consultants (as you need them), on-site, for consulting work and/or student programming. The minimum is a three-day retainer (three annual on-site visits), and the average for our retainer clients at present is five days.
- Comprehensive off-site consulting time, including by phone and e-mail, as you need it.
- Registration to monthly webstreams offered by The NCHERM Group
- On-demand access to the library of more than forty (40) archived online webstream trainings on the NCHERM website
- Institutional membership to:
- NaBITA, the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA) (unlimited campus members)
- SCOPE, the School and College Organization for Prevention Educators (SCOPE) (unlimited campus members)
- ATIXA, the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) (unlimited campus members)
- Member discounts through all three association for events, seminars, certifications and webstreams (15% savings)
- Weekly risk management and prevention newsletters
- Access to the NCHERM Publication Library of Books
- Access to ten NCHERM Proprietary Risk Management Protocols and Models:
- NCHERM Campus Sexual Assault Response Protocol
- NCHERM Admission and Screening of Students with Criminal Histories Protocol
- NaBITA Model Protocol for Behavioral Intervention Teams
- NCHERM Student Organizations Risk Management Protocol
- NCHERM Model Developmental Student Code of Conduct
- NCHERM Model Voluntary and Involuntary Medical Leave Protocol
- NCHERM Suicidal Student Protocol
- NCHERM Restorative Justice Model for Campus Sexual Misconduct
- The NCHERM Four-Year Strategic Prevention Curriculum Model
- The NCHERM Campus Culture Change Model
- Commissioned reports, assessments, audits, investigations, policy/procedural reviews, etc. in exchange for on-site days or contracted as part of the retainer
- Monthly retainer calls with the NCHERM consultants on topics of special relevance, including litigation, compliance and legislative updates.
If there is a particular case or situation, just pick up the phone and call. If you have a question about a law, we’re here to answer it. If you have a problem, we can help you to creatively problem-solve.
Our Special Counsel Program now includes 30 campuses, contracted for a year-long retainer that includes at least two on-site visits and the off-site benefits and services described above.