Articles Posted in Colleges and Universities

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justice-scales-gavel-fb.jpegChoosing a good lawyer to help you with a case, such as wrongful death, contract dispute, employment termination; asset forfeiture, and excessive force, can be very difficult.

Many blog posts advise you to make sure that (1) you feel comfortable with the lawyer you choose and that (2) the lawyer you choose has sound experience and understanding in the area you need representation in. While all that is true, there is one area that also demonstrates the quality of representation you will be obtaining to handle your case: your lawyer’s willingness and ability to handle an appeal of your case in front of a higher court.

Foremost, you may not read a lot of blog posts that talk about handling an appeal of your case in front of higher courts, because that means something may have went wrong with your case in the lower court. But here’s the reality: when you are going up against cities, school districts; law enforcement officials; public officials; big corporations; and hospitals–whether you win or lose at the lower court (trial court), one party is going to appeal, or threaten to appeal the loss, to the higher court (Appeals Court).

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Visiting with the Director - November 2012 001.jpgVisiting with the Director - November 2012 002.jpgcov.jpgWilliams Oinonen LLC was delighted to welcome back a return group of Covenant College pre-law students in Atlanta. Special thanks goes out to the Fulton County Office of the Public Defender where students enjoyed visiting last semester and learning further about a career as a public defender from the Director Vernon S. Pitts (see above photos), Supervisor D’Andre Berry, and heard fabulous stories from Supervising Trial Attorney Elizabeth Markowitz.

Special thanks also goes out to Paul Howard at Fulton County District Attorney’s office where Assistant District Attorneys April McConnell and Antonio Veal coordinated a very exciting afternoon for the students which included watching a murder trial.

The day also featured a special luncheon at the Commerce Club hosted by Williams Oinonen LLC with special guest and fellow alumni Jeremy Davis of Carlock Copeland.

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IMG_0040.JPGThis past Friday Williams Oinonen LLC hosted a group of pre-law students from Covenant College for an all day excursion. Students left at 6 a.m. from Lookout Mountain, Georgia to arrive at the downtown law office in Atlanta that morning to meet Ms. Oinonen, an attorney at Williams Oinonen LLC who led the day trip.

The day started out with a visit to Emory University School of Law. The group arrived at Emory University around 9:15 a.m. to do a brief walking tour of the larger university campus as a whole and ended up at the law school building. They started the visit by attending an admissions presentation in the Emory Law School Courtroom and then participated in a student led tour of the law school itself. Afterwards, they attended a property class taught by Professor Frank Alexander which according to students was the best part of their visit at Emory. His lecture focused on the constitutional issues surrounding eminent domain. Prior to saying goodbye, they were introduced to the Dean of Admissions, Ethan Rosenzweig 02L

After the Emory Law School tour, the group travelled to the Commerce Club, of which Ms. Oinonen is a member to attend a special private luncheon. During this time, she listened to all of the students share stories of their time at Covenant College and answered questions about law school and the legal profession.

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Federal law under The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) gives parents the rights to their children’s educational records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. This applies to most schools.

What Are A Parent’s Rights Under FERPA?

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records:

• Parents have the right to review and inspect their child’s educational records maintained by the school. Schools may charge for copies.

• Parents have the right to request that a school correct a record that they believe to be inaccurate. If the school decides not to amend the educational record, the parent has a right to a formal hearing. After the hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the parent has a right to place a statement with the record reflecting their viewpoint about the information that is contested.

• Generally, schools must have in writing permission from a parent to release information about a student’s educational record. The law allows schools to disclose those records to the following parties under the following conditions:

 School officials who have a legitimate educational interest in reviewing the record;
 Another school where the student transfers to;
 Appropriate officials for evaluation or auditing purposes;
 Appropriate individuals in connection to the student’s financial aid;
 Organizations providing certain studies on behalf of the school;
 Accreditation institutions;
 To comply with a court order or subpoena;
 Appropriate officials in safety and health emergencies; and  Juvenile justice system authorities, pursuant to specific State law.

Schools are allowed to disclose, without consent, “directory” information including name, phone number, and other such basic information as long as they tell parents about such information and allow a reasonable time frame to opt out.

These rights under FERPA will transfer to the student when they reach the age of majority (age 18) or attend college or an educational institution beyond high school.
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emory.jpgWilliams Oinonen LLC partner Julie Oinonen was recently appointed as a Fellow at the Emory University School of Law Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution.

Previously, Ms. Oinonen has been a Dean’s Teaching Fellow and Post Doctoral Fellow for Emory University School of Law. She is also admitted into the prestigious Order of Emory Advocates, in addition to being awarded the Kathleen Kessler-Eidson Trial Advocacy Award and International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award by Emory University School of Law. Ms. Oinonen has a Masters of Education and Masters of Business Administration graduating Magna Cum Laude. She completed her undergraduate education at Covenant College, a Christian college located on Lookout Mountain, Georgia.

Ms. Oinonen now joins her partner, Mr. Mario Bernard Williams, who is also a Fellow at the Center. Prior to Mr. William’s career as an attorney at Williams Oinonen LLC, he worked in the field of International Human Rights throughout South America. Mr. Williams graduated with honors from Morehouse with a degree in Political Science and has extensive experience with opponent research, policy analysis and political consulting. Additionally, Mr. Williams and Ms. Oinonen have had much success working on opponent research campaigns for elected officials throughout Georgia.

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Thumbnail image for College_graduate_students.jpg Good Georgia Lawyer is very happy to report that the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is cracking down on how colleges and universities report sexual misconduct.

The tougher response comes after a federal investigation identified problems at a number of colleges where sexual assault victims were re-victimized by university policies and procedures.

The Obama administration approach is also in response to the previous administration’s laissez faire approach. Now however, colleges and universities are all on notice that they must respond appropriately and accurately report sexual misconduct incidents. Additionally, feds have launched investigations on certain campuses.