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Kristin L. Smith

Of Counsel, Houston
Houston
t: 713.292.5621
f: 713.292.0151

Overview

Kristin Smith’s practice focuses exclusively on independent and private schools. She advises, counsels and represents religious and secular schools, including those serving pre-kindergarten-grade 12, kindergarten-grade 8, grades 6/7 – 12, and grades 9 – 12.

Kristin assists schools in a variety of areas, including student and employee discipline; faculty, staff and student contract drafting; handbook and policy drafting, implementation, and enforcement; LGBTQ issues, including transgender students and employees; board governance and training; discrimination claims and EEOC charges; administration and faculty training and development; school entanglement in family court proceedings; and, investigations, litigation, arbitration and mediation.

She is a frequent presenter to independent school associations on current legal issues.

Experience

Reported Cases

  • Assist Independent school with sexual misconduct investigation
  • Independent K – 8 school — advice regarding transgender student
  • School Board of Trustees — leading retreat regarding LGBTQ issues in independent schools
  • Independent K – 12 school — advice regarding transgender teacher
  • Independent K – 8 religious school — representing in litigation between associated church and
    governing body over property ownership
  • Independent K – 12 school — advice on child protective services reporting obligations
  • Independent Pre-k – 12 school — conducting investigation regarding alleged sexual misconduct
  • Independent Pre-k – 12 school — review and revising student and employee handbooks and contracts
  • Independent K – 12 school — counsel regarding inappropriate cyber behavior by students and parents
  • Independent K – 8 religious school — analyzing and revising bylaws and articles of incorporation
  • Board of Trustees of international Pre-k – 12 school — governance training
  • Private school Board of Trustees — research regarding starting a technical high school
  • Independent K – 12 school — arbitration on construction defect claim

Honors & Leadership

Professional Activities

  • Texas State Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Community Activities

  • The Awty International School, Volunteer, 2015 - present
  • Dress for Success Houston, Advisory Board Member, 2011 - present
  • Episcopal High School, Volunteer, 2007 - present
  • St. Luke's Day School, Volunteer, 2012 - 2015
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Endowment Board, 2009 - 2010

Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, 2019.
  • National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference, 2019.
  • NBOA Annual Meeting National Business Officers Association), 2019.
  • National Association of Episcopal Schools Biennial Conference, 2018.
  • “LGBTQ Issues in Independent Schools,” Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, 2017.
  • “LGBTQ Considerations for Episcopal Schools,” National Association of Episcopal Schools, 2016.
  • “This Year’s A, B, Cs of Independent School Legal Issues,” Houston Association of Independent Schools, 2016.
  • “LGBTQ Issues in Independent Schools,” Georgia Independent School Association, 2016.
  • “The Intersection of Technology and the Law in Independent Schools,” Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, 2015.
  • “LGBTQ Issues in Independent Schools,” Southern Association of Independent Schools, 2015.
  • “Independent School Admissions and the Law,” Houston Association of Independent Schools, 2015.
  • “Head of School Contracts,” Atlanta Area Association of Independent Schools, 2015.
  • “10 Tidbits You Should Know About Independent School Law: Quirky Questions We’ve Received,” Houston Association of Independent Schools, 2014.
  • “Investigating Sexual Misconduct in Your School,” Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, 2013.
  • “Hot Topics in Independent Schools,” Houston Association of Independent Schools, 2012

Education

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

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