Lawyer Builds Successful Practice as Consultant to Universities

Feb 26, 2004

Lamar Daniel is in many respects a security blanket that helps colleges and universities avoid problems with Title IX before they arise.
While other consultants purport to do the same thing, no one has the reputation and apparent expertise of Daniel, who has helped dozens of colleges through the years, from Division I to Division III, comply with the controversial gender equity law.
“He’s always been a very straightforward type of guy,” Oklahoma AD Joseph Castiglione told LICA. “But what really sets him apart is the insight he has in dealing with these issues.”
That “insight” was developed at the Office of Civil Rights in Atlanta, where Daniel was intricately involved in Title IX investigations for almost two decades. In 1995, he left the OCR and started Lamar Daniel, Inc., which “is dedicated to the identification, resolution and elimination of Title IX problems within an athletic program, including successful completion of the NCAA Division I Peer Evaluation Review.”
His experience at the OCR and now in the field is a differentiator from the dozens of other consultants that are offering to help athletic departments address Title IX, according to Castiglione..
“He’s seen it from all sides,” says Castiglione, who has known Daniel for ten years. “He’s able to not only identify the problems, but offer solutions that help universities stay in compliance with Title IX.”
LICA recently interviewed Daniel to get his perspective on the impact of Title IX on college athletics and the future impact the law could have on the industry. What follows is the interview.
How did you transition from staff membr OCR to consultant?
I was recruited from OCR beginning in early 1994 by Sharon Andrus, who was the President of an organization called the Andrus Group and, later, by a law firm in South Carolina. An attorney named Joe McCullough was the principal attorney recruiting me from that firm. He had previous experience representing colleges and universities in dealing with NCAA compliance matters, and Sharon Andrus’ organization was involved with personnel matters of college and university athletic programs. They discovered me through Athletic Directors with whom I had previous contact in my capacity as an OCR representative. At approximately the same time as I was being recruited, OCR offered early retirement for which I was qualified. After lengthy consideration, I took the early retirement and joined forces with Sharon and Joe, beginning on January 1,1994. We amicably split after a year, and I have been on my own ever since.
Initially, what was the climate in intercollegiate athletics?
Title IX enforcement in intercollegiate athletics technically began in earnest in 1980. However, I jumped the gun by beginning an investigation at the University of Georgia in 1978. That is a story in itself. There was a great deal of hostility and barely concealed disgust with OCR that it would tread on the sacred grounds of intercollegiate athletics and suggest that girls and women should be provided with an equal opportunity to compete and be treated as well as boys and men. OCR staff conducting the reviews and investigations were treated cordially but in a cool manner. There was rarely rudeness, but there were not open arms, either.
What are the circumstances where a school would contact you?
There are several reasons why a school would contact me. Most want an objective evaluation of their program so that they can address problems and resolve them. Some want to keep OCR off their campuses and reduce the possibility of a lawsuit. Some want help in getting through the NCAA Certification process. I assist them in all these matters.
Who are the people that you interact with within the AD?
As a general rule, the primary person who contacts me is the Athletics Director. I have also been contacted by university counsels, senior women administrators and senior associate ADs. I would interact with all these individuals as well as head coaches, women student-athletes, head support staff (head trainer, head strength coach, equipment manager, sports information director, marketing and promotion director), sport administrators, other athletic administrators, etc.
How long does a review take?
I try to do all my reviews in one week or less. This sometimes means traveling on Saturday to the school, reviewing the facilities on Sunday and conducting the interviews on Monday through Friday. I have been successful in keeping my reviews to one week everywhere I have been, including one school with 29 sports. It was a long week.
What is the good news in the industry? And the bad news?
The good news and the bad is relevant. Title IX did not change after a review by the Secretary of Education’s committee. Is that good or bad? It depends on who you are asking the question. Good news for me is that I have so much business that I am looking for an assistant. The bad news for schools is that there are people trying to get into the Title IX consulting business with little background and experience. Some schools will regret that eventually.
How much does it cost to get a review?
My fees range from $6000 up for a full review and a detailed written report addressing all the program component of Title IX. I base my fees on the number of sports offered. Travel expenses (round trip air fare, lodging, rental car and food) are extra.
Have you been pulled into court where a former client gets sued?
I have never had a client get sued over a matter in which I have previously provided advice. I have been hired as an expert witness or Title IX advisor by several law firms (see Title IX credentials) to help with issues that occurred prior to my involvement with the school.
How do you see your practice changing in the future?
I see my practice getting bigger. I have turned down lucrative jobs the last two years. However, I do not intend to work forever. The maximum I intend to continue is 5 years.
Will we see more consultants, or businesses getting into the business of doing these reviews?
There are some. College and universities should be very careful. There are already some now with very questionable credentials.
What advice would you give an AD, so they never have to even hire a consultant or step foot in a courtroom?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that a school will never have to step inside a courtroom because, in my opinion, it is too easy for a plaintiff’s legal counsel to obtain attorney fees. The key is, if you have to go, be sure you will win. I can minimize the possibility of having to go and ensure the victory if you get there.


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