Jim Newberry


Jim Newberry focuses his practice on representing institutions of higher education (IHEs) 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 multiple IHEs in connection with decisions to close and post-closure obligations
  • Advised IHE in connection with financial exigency declaration and with the elimination of academic programs
  • Advised IHE on business operations related to COVID-19
  • Addressed multiple governance issues for boards at IHEs, including disassociation of college board from denominational supervision
  • Drafted fundraising and gift acceptance policies and gift agreements
  • Represented multiple IHEs in drafting sexual misconduct policies and investigating Title IX complaints
  • Trained faculty and staff in Title IX compliance at multiple IHEs
  • Represented IHEs before U.S. Department of Education in connection with alleged financial aid program review deficiencies
  • Advised multiple IHEs in the creation and implementation of compliance and ethics programs
  • Represented multiple IHEs in addressing Clery compliance issues
  • Participated with IHE leadership in development of five-year strategy to disassociate institution from denominational affiliation
  • Represented IHE charged with multiple NCAA violations necessitating termination of athletic director’s long-term employment agreement
  • Conducted internal investigation of presidential misconduct for IHE
  • 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
  • Advised multiple IHEs in connection with student immigration compliance issues associated with Student and Exchange Visitor Program

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, World Games 2010 Foundation, 2007-2010
  • 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

  • “If the Time Comes: Closing a College Wisely,” Inside Higher Education Webcast, 2023
  • “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, 2024
  • “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

Related Services

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