Diana D. Halpenny

Ms. Halpenny is an attorney with the firm who has 30 years of practice in education law. Her areas of practice include personnel matters, labor relations and collective bargaining, student rights and discipline, governance and open meeting laws, charter school matters, as well as numerous general education issues.

During the past 22 years, prior to her rejoining KMTG, Ms. Halpenny spent 2 years as a Legal Advisor to a PERB board member, and 20 years with the San Juan Unified School District, where she was General Counsel for 18 years and Associate Superintendent of Human Resources for the past two years. Ms. Halpenny's commitment to public education and her emphasis on building and maintaining long-term partnerships with clients and colleagues by being accessible, personable, and responsive are the hallmarks of her practice and the benefits enjoyed by her clients.

Legal Experience

Ms. Halpenny's extensive knowledge of education policy and law, combined with her in-house experience at one of the state's largest school districts, enables her to provide comprehensive and insightful representation to clients on the full spectrum of legal issues impacting public education. She provides preventative legal guidance and counsel to school boards and school districts in a number of areas including:

  • Development and interpretation of district policies and procedures
  • Governance issues, including the Brown Act and conflicts of interest
  • Personnel matters, including layoffs and employee discipline and dismissals
  • Labor relations and collective bargaining, including interest-based bargaining
  • Grievance arbitrations
  • Contract administration
  • Student discipline, including suspensions and expulsions
  • Student and First Amendment rights
  • Legal issues involving charter schools
  • Policy issues related to media on school campuses

In addition to her education law expertise, Ms. Halpenny also has considerable experience in human resources.

Ms. Halpenny is a frequent presenter & trainer on a variety of subject matters, including the Brown Act, charter school issues, Public Records Act, employee discipline and documentation, teacher rights and responsibilities, media on campus issues, and other various topics pertinent to education. She is also one of the original members of the California School Boards Association, Education Legal Alliance Attorney Advisory Committee. In this capacity she participates in assessing cases of statewide interest for Legal Alliance participation. She also served for many years as the Chairperson of the Education Mandated Cost Network, which assists school districts in the area of mandate laws and procedures.

Practice Examples

  • Ms. Halpenny has provided guidance and advice to one of the state's largest school districts for over eighteen years, in nearly every aspect of school law. Her practice has included general personnel matters, collective bargaining including contract administration and arbitration, layoffs, employee discipline and dismissal, charter petitions and charter school issues, governance and open meeting act matters, drafting policies, regulations and procedures, new legislation review and analysis, First Amendment issues (speech, religion, press) concerning students and employees, media issues, bidding issues, Public Records Act matters, and discrimination and accommodation issues.
  • Ms. Halpenny has been a frequent presenter and trainer to a variety of groups on a multitude of topics, and was a district participant in one of the earliest training sessions on interest-based bargaining. Since then, she has been trained as a trainer in interest-based bargaining through PERB (predecessor to CFIER), CTA interest-based training, and the Harvard School of Negotiations Interest-based bargaining training. She has presented on such issues as the Media on Campus, and wrote an article on that topic that was published in LA Lawyer Magazine, charter school issues, Brown Act, and affirmative action.
  • Ms. Halpenny was also a long-time member and former chairperson of the Education Mandated Cost Network, the CSBA Education Legal Alliance, and has been active in various school attorney organizations.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

Ms. Halpenny's presentations and trainings include:

  • Co-Instructor, University of Southern California/School Services of California – School Business Officials Certification Program, Personnel and Collective Bargaining, (2006 to Present)
  • Presenter, ACSA Personnel Academy, "Law of Collective Bargaining," (1997 to Present)
  • Presenter, California State University, Sacramento, "Teacher Rights and Responsibilities," (presented to Phase III student teachers, 2001 to Present)
  • Presenter, California Council of School Attorneys and County Counsel Association, School Law Study Section on numerous school-related topics
  • Instructor, School Law, LaVerne University, Masters Degree and Administrative Credential Program (2002)
  • Instructor, School Law, Sacramento State University, Masters Degree and Administrative Credential Program (2003, 2004)

Ms. Halpenny's leadership activities include:

  • California School Boards Association, Education Legal Alliance, Attorney Advisory Committee Member, 1999 to Present
  • California Council of School Attorneys, past President; Vice President; and Executive Board Member
  • Education Mandated Cost Network, Chairperson, 2001 to 2005; Board Member, 1987 to 2005
  • California County Counsel Association, School Law Study Section, Northern Section President, 1997
  • Founding Member, In-House School Attorneys of Northern California

Ms. Halpenny is a BV rated attorney, as recognized by Martindale-Hubbell peer review ratings.

Academic Background

J.D. University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1980

  • Order of the Coif
  • Traynor Honor Society, Life Member
  • SBA Tutor and Minority Student Tutor for Contracts
  • President, Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity
  • Pacific Law Journal, Summer Writer, Published Comment, Scope of Bargaining and Teacher Tenure, Evaluation and Dismissal, October, 1979

Elementary Teaching Credential, California State University, Long Beach, 1976

B.A. Sonoma State College, 1973