Educational Programming

Sea Change: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education after the Supreme Court Strikes Down Affirmative Action

Slide Deck | Webinar Recording

Members of Alston & Bird’s Education Team focus on safely navigating the new risks and challenges posed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, et al.

Alston & Bird’s subject matter experts will delve deeply into and offer a careful read of Students for Fair Admissions and will discuss:

  • How the new legal regime established by Students for Fair Admissions impacts key sectors of higher education such as admissions, financial aid, student services, and faculty and staff
  • Best practices and strategic options for traversing the new landscape, while still adhering to your values in diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Developments and expected trends in the aftermath of Students for Fair Admissions


Terance A. Gonsalves, Partner

Tery Gonsalves is a partner in the Litigation & Trial Practice Group and chair of Alston & Bird’s Education Team. He is a seasoned trial lawyer having tried more than 20 cases to verdict. He represents public and private schools, colleges, and universities, as well as clients across other industries, in a variety of matters, including complex litigation, government and internal investigations, and regulatory and compliance counseling.

Tery has a comprehensive understanding of the federal, state, and accreditation issues facing education institutions. He previously served as Deputy General Counsel at a publicly traded proprietary education corporation, where he counseled clients in all aspects of the highly regulated education ecosystem. His clients include nonprofit and for-profit institutions he counsels on a myriad of issues.

Additionally, Tery has extensive experience defending claims arising under the False Claims Act (FCA) and high stakes consumer class actions, including claims of consumer fraud, false and deceptive advertising, and unfair business and trade practices. He also has a nationwide practice defending class actions and individual claims alleging violations of various state and federal telemarketing laws, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Tery also represents clients in front of multiple federal and state agencies, including the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Education, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, state attorneys general, and various state higher-education agencies and accrediting bodies.

Alex Garrison Barnett, Partner

Alex Barnett represents employers in a wide variety of labor and employment matters. She counsels and defends employers in actions brought under state common law and federal law, including Title VII, the ADA, ADEA, FLSA, and FMLA. Her practice also includes defending employers in complex employment class actions, conducting internal investigations, and advising on employment-related issues arising in corporate transactions. Additionally, Alex routinely counsels clients in a variety of industries on employment actions, policies, and practices; employment agreements and separation agreements; and compliance with federal and state laws. She was selected to the Georgia Super Lawyers “Rising Star” list, 2015-2019.

Alex received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was on the editorial board of the Journal of Law & Politics. Before law school, she earned her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, with high honors in Romance languages from Dartmouth College. Upon graduation, Alex was the recipient of the Philip D. McInnis ’36 Award, which is presented annually to the woman in the senior class who contributed most significantly to the college through her depth of integrity and character, capacity for leadership, academic achievement, and commitment to the life of the community.


Chaka Patterson, Partner

Chaka Patterson has over two decades of experience in corporate settings, government, and private practice. He most recently served as senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at a global education corporation. In addition to overseeing day-to-day departmental operations, Chaka guided the business development and M&A transactions, corporate governance, risk and compliance, and litigation functions. Previously, Chaka served as Vice President, Treasury & Investor Relations at a Fortune 100 company, where he managed the company’s balance sheet, cash, bond offerings, and relationships with external stakeholders.

Chaka also has significant government experience. He was the chief of the Civil Actions Bureau for Cook County’s State’s Attorney in Illinois where, he managed a team of 100 lawyers in defending the county and its officeholders and employees in civil suits. Chaka also served as an assistant attorney general and chief of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office Special Litigation Bureau, where he prosecuted civil and criminal fraud cases, including health care fraud, securities fraud, complex consumer fraud, charitable trust fraud, and False Claims Act cases.

Chaka’s private practice experience as a partner in two AmLaw 100 law firms includes representing clients in business and commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense involving state attorneys general investigations, FCA actions, and internal investigations and compliance reviews.