About Jackie Gharapour Wernz

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

Jackie brings a mix of unique perspectives to her representation of schools, colleges, universities, and other education-adjacent organizations. Her forebearers include some of the earliest Southern settlers in the U.S. on one side, but she is also the child of an immigrant. She was born and has deep roots in the rural Ozarks; since graduating from law school, though, she has called big cities home. She has over a decade of experience representing public and private schools, colleges, and universities in private practice, yet benefits from experience regulating educational institutions in the Federal government under two Presidential administrations. Jackie weaves these varied experiences together to provide unparalleled service and empathy to clients, whether they are rural, urban, or suburban, large or small, public or private.

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 prohibitions on 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.

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, 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) and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

Jackie is passionate about helping K-12 schools meet their crucial goal of educating the future leaders of our nation. Her legal experience concerning elementary and secondary schools includes issues involving students, employees, regulatory and compliance, education technology, teacher and staff dismissals and discipline, contract negotiations, immigration, and business and operations.

Jackie’s higher education experience includes advising, consulting, and litigating 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 athletic (Title IX and NCAA).

Jackie helps schools, colleges, and universities at all levels with crafting legally compliant policies, procedures, handbooks, and webpage content. She helps public entities with public records requests and open meetings issues. She advises clients on all issues related to education technology, including the myriad data security and privacy issues inherent in the use of educational applications, tools, and other products in schools. She frequently drafts, reviews, and negotiates contracts and agreements, including sophisticated transactions involving education technology and privacy.

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.

Jackie is currently licensed in the state of Illinois and is in the process of obtaining her license to practice in the state of Texas.


Licensing & Court Admissions

Jackie is in the process of obtaining her license to practice in the state of Texas.

Memberships & Recognitions

Selected Client Representations

Representative Publications

Representative Speeches & Presentations