Higher Education
With decades of higher education experience - we can help

HLGR has built a strong background in higher education law. HLGR attorneys have represented educational institutions in labor, employment and benefits matters; student affairs cases; business and risk management matters; accreditation and reorganization; and privacy, public records, and open meetings cases.

Our attorneys listen to your goals and work to ensure that the firm’s legal and administrative experience will facilitate achievement of those goals. HLGR’s extensive experience in higher education is available to help clients with practical and effective solutions in the following areas:

  • Outside general counsel services
  • Governance and governing boards
  • Management of institutional projects and initiatives
  • Relationships with affiliated foundations
  • Town-gown relationships
  • Policies and procedures
  • Public records, public meetings, and government ethics
  • Crisis management
  • Intercollegiate athletics
  • Contracts for performing artists and speakers, academic affiliation and internship agreements, and faculty and student exchange agreements
  • Facility use agreements, leases, and easements
  • Risk management and insurance
  • Strategies to achieve a diverse student body and faculty
  • Federal and state regulation of higher education, including Title IX, the Clery Act, financial aid, sponsored research, grants and contracts, degree authorization and program approval
  • Federal and state investigations, including by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the EEOC, the OFCCP, and BOLI
  • Privacy, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and HIPAA
  • Tenure, promotion, academic freedom, and other faculty employment issues
  • Labor and employment law including advice, collective bargaining, grievances, arbitration and litigation
  • Negotiation of employment contracts for highly compensated employees, including presidents, faculty, coaches, and athletic directors
  • Student affairs, including discipline and codes of conduct, Title IX, sexual assault, student organizations, student health services, and student health insurance
  • Litigation, including defense of civil rights, breach of contract and negligence claims

Representative Matters Involving Educational Institutions

Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits

  • Counsel to both public and private educational institutions regarding complaints alleging discrimination and wrongful termination of faculty and other employees
  • Counsel to a major public university regarding the recognition of a wall-to-wall faculty bargaining unit
  • Counsel and chief spokesperson for a major public university in the negotiation of its first collective bargaining agreement with a faculty union, in the negotiation of its first collective bargaining agreement with its sworn police officers, and in collective bargaining with a graduate teaching and research fellows union
  • Counsel to educational institutions in negotiating presidential employment agreements and the departure of presidents
  • Counsel to an educational institution and current and former employees in a case alleging civil rights violations, whistle-blower retaliation, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful discharge
  • Counsel to an educational institution in terminating the employment of a department chair for misuse of funds and establishing a degree program without authority
  • Counsel to a coalition of educational institutions in defending legislative changes, drafted by the firm, to a state public employee pension system, which significantly reduce the institutions’ annual costs for pension contributions
  • Counsel to a coalition of educational institutions on participation in a comprehensive employee benefits program

Student Affairs

  • Counsel to an educational institution in litigation challenging the decision to expel a graduate student for possessing a deadly weapon on campus
  • Counsel to an educational institution regarding student health insurance and restructuring of student health services
  • Counsel to an educational institution regarding harassment by a student

Construction, Business and Risk Management

  • Counsel to an educational institution regarding tax credit financing of a capital construction program
  • Counsel to an educational institution regarding insurance coverage disputes
  • Counsel to an educational institution in two major lawsuits affecting the structure of the institution and its affiliated hospital and clinics, as well as its self-insurance and risk management protocols
  • Counsel to an association of educational institutions regarding an insurance trust
  • Counsel to an educational institution in a fee dispute with an architect on a construction project
  • Counsel to an educational institution in a lawsuit brought by a subcontractor related to payment and performance bonds on a construction project

Accreditation and Reorganization

  • Counsel to an educational institution on reorganization of programs and departments and reassignment of personnel
  • Counsel to an educational institution regarding complaints to an accrediting agency alleging that various actions by the institution should cause its accreditation to be revoked

Privacy, Public Records, and Open Meetings

  • Counsel to an educational institution on a challenge to the confidentiality of institutional and faculty research records
  • Counsel to educational institutions and numerous public bodies regarding public records, privacy laws, and open meetings