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Higher Education

Colleges and Universities need attorneys who understand what makes higher education unique. We provide advice, counsel and representation focused on the specific challenges and pressures facing academia. Whether it is labor and employment, student or academic affairs, our attorneys have the depth and breadth of expertise to help navigate the obstacles facing higher education today.

Overview

Universities and colleges operate in a highly sophisticated legal and operational environment. Whether public or private, a single campus or a system, higher education institutions require attorneys who provide consistently strong advocacy, clear guidance on the complex array of compliance obligations and knowledge about best legal practices. 

Our higher education attorneys have extensive experience representing colleges and universities with a broad range of matters, such as Title IX investigations, labor and employment law, NCAA compliance, complex litigation, student grievances, the Americans with Disabilities Act and a host of other issues at the forefront of higher education law.

We understand the unique nature of higher education:  its core values and campus culture, and how those characteristics impact the interplay of law, policy and academic mission; what motivates faculty and administrators; and what concerns the students, parents, alumni, communities and other constituencies which they serve.  Our advice is informed and shaped by these factors, so our college and university clients receive legal counsel that is customized to the academic context.

Our team includes attorneys with decades of collective experience working in-house at universities, colleges and other education organizations including as general counsel, NCAA compliance governing board membership and faculty service.

We provide institutions with the critical legal skills and knowledge, and also a depth of understanding about higher education, in the following areas:

Title IX/VAWA
  • Institutional policies and compliance best practices
  • Sexual violence claims – and training campus investigators
  • Litigation defense, agency investigations and federal audits
Situation Management
  • Crisis and image management
  • Media, government and public relations strategies
  • Litigation avoidance and dispute resolution
  • Executive leadership advice
Collegiate Sports
  • NCAA/NAIA compliance policies and training
  • Rules infraction cases
  • Title IX compliance reviews and strategic plans
  • Coach contracts and compensation
Student Risk and Liability
  • Student organization risk management
  • Internship policies and practices
  • Student handbook development
Academic Policies and Processes
  • Academic freedom and free speech
  • Grade appeals and academic honesty
ADA and Section 504
  • Academic and workplace accommodations
  • Policy and procedure design and implementation
Employment Law in the Higher Education Context
  • P&T and other faculty contract matters
  • Student/scholar immigration
  • 1983 and other Civil Rights issues
  • Student employees
Privacy, E-communications and Data Security
  • FERPA, HIPAA and other privacy laws
  • Social media issues for employees and students
  • Data breach prevention and management
Labor Relations
  • Faculty and student organizing
  • Collective bargaining and grievance representation
Affirmative Action
  • Pay equity analysis and pay discrimination defense
  • Affirmative action plans
  • OFCCP compliance and audit defense
Diversity
  • Diversity policies and strategic planning
  • Proactive crisis mitigation strategies
Immigration and I-9 Compliance
  • PERM-based Lawful Permanent Residency applications
  • Special handling, National Interest Waiver and Outstanding Researcher/Professor petitions
  • Employment visas, including H-1b, TN, J-1 and O visas
  • Student and visiting scholar issues including STEM OPT extensions
  • Advice and counsel on I-9, E-Verify and other compliance issues

We also offer a full range of practice areas that provide the resources higher education needs to address every aspect of the employer/employee relationship. To learn more about our services please visit our Practices & Experience page.

The Team

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December 9, 2016

Seventh Circuit Confirms Student-Athletes Not Entitled to Minimum Wage under FLSA

December 9, 2016

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has affirmed U.S. District Judge William T. Lawrence’s dismissal of the student-athlete litigation against the NCAA and over 120 NCAA Division I member schools alleging that student-athletes are employees who are entitled to a minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Berger... Read More

November 1, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Transgender Student Case

November 1, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral argument in one of the high-profile challenges to the legality of the Dear Colleague Letter (“DCL”) jointly issued by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education on May 13, 2016, announcing the Departments would “treat a student’s gender identity as the student... Read More

October 5, 2016

White House Addresses Sexual Misconduct in K-12 Schools

October 5, 2016

A new notice and resource materials from the White House remind K-12 schools of their obligations to prevent and address sexual misconduct under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972. Like colleges and universities, K-12 school districts have a legal obligation under Title IX to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct. The White... Read More

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