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About Kristin

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

Recent Notable Matters

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

Publications and Speeches

“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.

Credentials

Education

William Mitchell College of Law,
J.D.
2001
magna cum laude
University of Minnesota,
Master of Arts
1998
University of Minnesota,
Bachelor of Business Administration
1997

Bar Admissions

Texas
Minnesota

Affiliations

The Awty International School
Volunteer, 2015 - 2017
Dress for Success Houston
Advisory Board Member, 2011 - 2017
Episcopal High School
Volunteer, 2007 - 2017
St. Luke's Day School
Volunteer, 2012 - 2015
St. Mark's Episcopal Church
Endowment Board, 2009 - 2010
Texas State Bar Association
Minnesota State Bar Association
American Bar Association

News

Noteworthy

Noteworthy

Thomson Reuters
Texas Super Lawyers
Rising Star, 2014 - 2015
Thomson Reuters
Minnesota Super Lawyers
Rising Star, 2005 - 2006