The University of North Carolina system has retained Jones Day and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (WilmerHale), two nationally renowned law firms, to provide legal services to the University and the UNC Board of Governors in connection with a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Justice (United States of America v. State of North Carolina; Patrick McCrory; North Carolina Department of Public Safety; University of North Carolina; and Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, No. 1:16-cv-00425). The lawsuit challenging the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, commonly known as House Bill 2, was filed on May 9, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Noel J. Francisco and Glen D. Nager, partners in Jones Day’s Washington, D.C., office, will take the lead in litigation, with attorneys from the Division of Legal Affairs at the UNC system office serving as local counsel. Francisco is chair of Jones Day’s Government Regulation Practice, where he represents clients in civil and criminal litigation involving federal and state governments, including lawsuits against governments, enforcement actions by governments, and congressional investigations. Nager has handled numerous appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts in subject areas including antitrust, civil rights, employment, environmental law, government contracts, and intellectual property. He also defends employers in class action discrimination and employee benefits cases and conducts mediations and neutral case evaluations.

Led by firm partner Seth Waxman in the Washington, D.C. office, the WilmerHale firm will advise the University on legal strategy. Waxman leads WilmerHale’s appellate practice and also engages in a broad litigation and counseling practice, with particular emphasis on complex challenges involving governments or public policy, intellectual property, regulatory, criminal and commercial issues. He served as Solicitor General of the United States from 1997-2001 and has delivered 75 oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although the North Carolina Attorney General ordinarily represents the University and its officials in litigation, the AG’s office has declined to provide legal representation to the University in this matter.    Fees for outside legal services will be paid from a combination of non-state funds and state appropriations.

The University remains in regular contact with the Department of Justice about ways to constructively resolve its inquiry into the University’s compliance with federal civil rights laws. The UNC system has not changed its nondiscrimination policies and practices in response to the passage of HB2, and campuses have taken no action to prevent individuals from accessing facilities based on gender identity. UNC campuses have long worked to accommodate the needs of students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds and to ensure our campuses are welcoming and inclusive for all.

For more information, contact Joni Worthington at (919) 962-4629 or worthj@northcarolina.edu.

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