Jim Newberry


Jim Newberry focuses his practice on representing colleges and universities and their affiliated organizations. He recently served as Mayor of Lexington and has extensive leadership experience in the equine industry, legal service industry, state government and higher education. Mr. Newberry is leader of the firm’s Higher Education Team and is co-chair of the firm’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Representative Experience

  • Advised higher education client in connection with financial exigency declaration and with the elimination of academic programs
  • Advised higher education clients on business operations related to COVID-19
  • Advised higher education clients on COVID-19 guidance from CDC and from state and local public health agencies
  • Addressed multiple governance issues for nonprofit boards, including disassociation of college board from denominational supervision
  • Drafted fundraising and gift acceptance policies
  • Represented multiple institutions in investigating Title IX complaints
  • Represented higher education clients before U.S. Department of Education in connection with alleged financial aid program review deficiencies
  • Advised multiple higher education clients in the creation and implementation of compliance and ethics programs
  • Represented multiple institutions in addressing Clery compliance issues
  • Represented multiple institutions in addressing student financial aid questions
  • Drafted Title IX sexual misconduct policies for multiple institutions in aftermath of 2014 guidance
  • Drafted restricted gift agreements
  • Participated with college leadership in development of five-year strategy to disassociate institution from denominational affiliation
  • Represented university charged with multiple NCAA violations necessitating termination of athletic director’s long-term employment agreement
  • Conducted internal investigation of presidential misconduct for higher education client
  • Addressed both programmatic and regional accreditation issues
  • Repurposed restricted gifts under UPMIFA
  • Advised faculty and staff on specific FERPA issues and FERPA catalog disclosures
  • Evaluated multi-state regulatory compliance obligations associated with distance learning initiatives
  • Assisted statewide agricultural association to develop legislative strategy and lobbied state legislature to enact legislation reflecting the association’s strategy
  • Represented international insurance organization in global restructuring effort and obtained necessary state regulatory approvals
  • Mediated highly visible environmental dispute involving controversial NPDES permit
  • Trained faculty and staff in Title IX compliance at multiple institutions

Licensed In

  • Kentucky


  • J.D. University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law
  • B.A. University of Kentucky


  • Member, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities Legal Services Review Panel, 2015-2022
  • Member, United States Chamber of Commerce Education, Employment, and Training Committee 2014-present
  • Member, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Education & Workforce Development Council, 2015-present
  • Board of Visitors, University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Administration, 2009-2019
  • Member, The Journal of College and University Law Editorial Board, 2015
  • Executive Committee, Bluegrass Area Development District, 2007-2010
  • Executive Committee, Kentucky League of Cities, 2007-2010
  • Member, Lexington-Fayette County Board of Health, 2007-2010
  • Executive Committee, World Games 2010 Foundation, 2007-2010
  • Vice-President, Health Kentucky, Inc., 2000-2006
  • Vice President, Blue Grass Community Foundation, 2001-2005
  • Member, President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts at the Kennedy Center, 1995-1997
  • Chair, Governor’s Task Force on Health Care Access and Affordability, 1992-1993
  • Member, Governor’s Commission for Health Care Reform, 1992-1993
  • Board of Directors, University of Kentucky Athletics Association, 1978-1979
  • Board of Trustees, University of Kentucky, 1977-1978


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Administrative / Regulatory Law (2024-Present), Education Law (2016-Present), Employment Law – Management (2024-Present), Litigation – Labor and Employment (2024-Present)
  • Special Justice, Kentucky Supreme Court, 1994

Speaking Engagements

  • “Tools for Financially Distressed Institutions,” Steptoe & Johnson PLLC Webcast, 2022
  • “After the Dear Colleague Letter: Developing Enhanced Due Process Protections for Title IX Sexual Assault Cases at Public Institutions,” 44 Journal of College and University Law, 78 (2018)
  • “Faculty Hiring Practices and Faculty Evaluations,” Council of Independent Colleges Workshop for Department and Division Chairs, 2018
  • “Litigation Update – Due Process,” National Conference on Law and Higher Education, 2018
  • “Sexual Assault in Higher Education – The Rights of the Accused,” Education Law Association, 2018
  • “Charting an Institutional Course in Turbulent Higher Education Times,” Carroll University, 2018
    Guest Lecturer, Bellarmine University Leadership in Higher Education PhD Program, 2018
  • “Legal Issues That Keep Presidents Up at Night,” Council of Independent Colleges’ Presidents Institute, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022
  • “Top Legal Issues Facing Higher Education,” American Academic Leadership Institute, 2016, 2017
  • “Transgender & Overtime Issues for Higher Education,” Mid-South Athletic Conference, 2016
  • “Using a Title IX Policy to Educate the Campus,” Pittsburgh Business Times, 2016
  • “Joining with ACS Colleagues to Reduce Legal Expenses,” Associated Colleges of the South, 2016
  • “Legal Issues for Colleges and Universities,” Appalachian College Association, 2015
  • “Legal Issues for Academic Deans,” Appalachian College Association, 2015
  • “Title IX Overview,” Appalachian College Association, 2015
  • “Campus Sexual Assaults,” Council for Advancement and Support of Education Annual Conference for Media Relations Professionals, 2015
  • “Drafting a Title IX Compliant Sexual Misconduct Policy,” Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, 2015
  • “Lessons Learned from the (Sweet) Briar Patch,” Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, 2015
  • “Drafting a Title IX Compliant Sexual Misconduct Policy,” Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities, 2015
  • “Legal and Ethical Issues for Colleges and Universities,” Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium, 2015
  • “Recent Title IX Changes,” Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Attorneys Conference, 2014
  • “Liberal Arts Lessons,” University of Kentucky, College of Arts & Sciences, Lexington, KY, 2011
  • “Franco-American Relations,” Lafayette France & America, Paris, France, 2007
  • “Lessons Learned by a New Mayor,” Harvard University Conference for New Mayors, Cambridge, MA, 2007

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