About Jackie Gharapour Wernz

Legal Assistant: Mindy Irvin | T: 469-421-6618 | mirvin@thompsonhorton.com

Jackie attended public schools from kindergarten through law school, benefitting personally from the unique opportunities they offer. As a native of Arkansas and the child of an immigrant, she was also attuned from an early age to the many constitutional and civil rights challenges schools face in educating students from various backgrounds. In her first semester of law school, she volunteered to research education equity with a renowned education law professor. She never looked back and has been focused on education law since. Jackie weaves her varied experiences together to provide unparalleled service and empathy to clients, whether K-12 or higher education, public or private, large or small, rural, urban, or suburban.

Jackie’s breadth of legal experience means she can assist educational clients with almost any issue they face.

As a former civil rights attorney with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Jackie has a deep understanding of civil rights law, including discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. She is a sought-after national speaker, media commentator, and expert witness in Title IX matters, including sex-based discrimination, harassment, assault and violence, and retaliation. She is the first call for many educational administrators and in-house lawyers seeking authoritative guidance on the changeable landscape of civil rights compliance in Title IX and beyond. She regularly advises schools, colleges, and universities on constitutional questions, including those involving discipline of student and employee off-campus, online speech and other First and Fourth Amendment issues.

Jackie has trained thousands of school, college, university, and other educational administrators and employees across the country on regulatory and other legal compliance issues, including Title IX and other federal civil rights laws. She advises, represents, and serves as an outside contractor regarding internal complaints of employment and education discrimination, retaliation, and other noncompliance, including serving as an outside investigator, decision-maker, advisor, and informal resolution facilitator in formal Title IX complaints. She conducts regulatory and compliance reviews and audits for institutions on sex discrimination and harassment, general civil rights compliance, and—calling on her experience as a former member of OCR’s Title IX athletics team—athletics equity and NCAA compliance matters.

Jackie is an experienced and passionate litigator at the trial and appellate level. Her experience involves numerous cases alleging sexual harassment in education and employment, disability discrimination and harassment, and violations of other Federal civil rights laws. She uses her litigation skills and experience working with the U.S. government to represent clients in all stages of proceedings in Federal court; in administrative hearings, including employee dismissal hearings and disability rights hearings; with entities such as the NCAA; and in proceedings before agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education (including OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Jackie’s education law experience includes a vast range of issues, including student rights and responsibilities; labor and employment, including teacher and faculty dismissal and tenure issues, employment contracts and collective agreements, and labor disputes; regulatory and compliance; business and operations issues, including education technology, contract negotiations, open meetings, and public records issues. She helps schools, colleges, and universities at all levels craft legally compliant policies, procedures, handbooks, and webpage content. She advises, counsels, and litigates on behalf of clients regarding issues such as sexual harassment (Title IX and Clery), other harassment and discrimination issues (such as Title VI and Title VII), student aid (Title IV), student and employee accommodations (ADA and Section 504), student records (FERPA), and collegiate athletics (Title IX and NCAA).

Jackie attended the University of Virginia School of Law. She was a recipient of the Dillard Scholarship, the Law School’s premier full merit scholarship, and a member of the editorial board for the Virginia Law Review. Jackie is a summa cum laude graduate of the Donaghey Scholars honors program at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. In college, she triple-majored in English Literature, History, and French and studied abroad in France twice.

Jackie is currently licensed in the states of Illinois and Texas. She lives in Dallas with her husband, children, and vizsla dogs.


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Representative Speeches & Presentations