EDUCATION

Educational institutions at every level – both public and private – have legal needs and challenges that mirror those businesses face, as well as their own unique concerns. We are proud that our attorneys are selected so often by these institutions to handle many of their most complex transactions, compliance matters and litigation.

  • Public Funding and Government Relations


    • Assisted a college in securing the release of $1 million in funding for a center for early learning and children’s media, as well as $5 million for a new science facility.
    • Helped a college obtain $1.5 million for the construction of its Science, Education and Technology (SET) building.
    • Secured $1 million for a university for renovations of a historic building, including technology enhancements.
    • Assisted in securing $40 million for a client’s science teacher professional development programs in elementary schools for hundreds of school districts throughout Pennsylvania.
    • Secured $1 million for a university for the construction of its center for science and technology.
    • Assisted in securing a special appropriation of $10 million to help a city school district implement its school “rightsizing” program and gaining the enactment of legislation amending the Public School Code to provide additional authority over personnel management of school principals.
    • Assisted in the creation and implementation of legislation authorizing school districts to permit the transfer of the state basic school subsidy, which helps students defray the cost of tuition at charter schools.
    • Worked to achieve a compromise on behalf of a local school district that resulted in a study of a high-profile issue rather than the legislature formalizing an oversight board.
    • Monitored online charter school legislation and changes to regulations for online degree programs.
    • Assisted a university in securing the release of $2.5 million in funding for construction of the expansion of a science and technology center.
    • Worked with a school within a college on outstanding issues with the state department of education to obtain approval to operate as an academic degree-granting college.
    • Secured state dollars for major research programs, including those related to Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes and ALS on behalf of a major research university.
    • Monitored potential legislation to protect a major research university’s interests, including Medicaid reform and any other physician or hospital related issues.
    • Assisted a Boy Scouts organization in securing funding for a program that teaches young adults career skills.
  • Tax-Exempt Finance


    • Handled public finance and bond work for many colleges and universities as university counsel and bond counsel.
    • Acted as conduit issuer's counsel for numerous higher education tax-exempt financings.
    • Counseled and advised colleges and universities in regard to corporate transactions and agreements.
    • Represented lenders in connection with student housing financing projects.
    • Counseled and advised higher learning institutions and not-for-profit entities in tax matters.
  • Intellectual Property


    • Assisted a college with all intellectual property services for trademarking its new name and then defended the college in subsequent intellectual property litigation regarding the name change.
    • Advised a university on licensing, joint research collaboration agreements and patents in the biotechnology fields of artificial tissues, surface chemistry modifications and pharmaceutical process monitoring.
    • Developed collaborations and strategic alliances between research-oriented universities and entrepreneurial companies in connection with a range of technology transfer, joint development, licensing and commercialization matters.
    • Represented a university in general trademark prosecution and a lawsuit.
    • Assisted academic institutions in the management of disclosure and collaborative research agreements.
    • Represented a university in structuring joint research collaboration agreements.
    • Negotiated a multimillion-dollar lease agreement for a university for cutting-edge PACS technology system providing digital imaging of radiology tests.
    • Represented a university in biotechnology, tissue engineering, bioinformatics, medical devices and diagnostics, nanotechnology and small molecule therapeutics.
    • Counseled university clients regarding scientific misconduct questions, fraud and misappropriation of intellectual property rights.
    • Advised a university client on the undertaking of web-based degree granting distance learning initiatives.
    • Established a tax-exempt subsidiary to hold and manage intellectual property.
    • Obtained a pre-season court order authorizing a public university to seize infringing materials being sold on and about its campus sports complex during home football games.
    • Prepared intellectual properties policies for use by universities with respect to their faculty, staff and students.
    • Assisted universities in evaluating and prioritizing invention disclosures.
    • Conducted prior art searches for university inventions to assess likelihood and scope of potential patent protection.
    • Drafted and prosecuted patent applications in all areas of technology (mechanical, electrical, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech) for educational entities and conducted patentability searches in all areas of technology.
    • Advised universities concerning intellectual property rights in government-sponsored and third party-sponsored research.
    • Negotiated licensing agreements and introduced universities to potential licensees.
    • Assisted universities and faculty members in creating and obtaining funding for businesses to commercialize their inventions.
    • Provided intellectual property seminars and other instruction to university faculty and staff.
    • Counseled academic institutions and research institutes to optimize the value of their IP portfolios, conducted due diligence reviews, and provided advice on IP acquisition and licensing strategies.
  • Cybersecurity, Data Protection and Technology


    • Developed a comprehensive privacy training program for faculty and staff at leading boarding school.
    • Counseled private schools on privacy issues related to student data protection and negotiated provisions to cover data protection in IT contracts.
    • Assisted a college in connection with data security incidents involving possible unauthorized access to dining card information and sports team data.
    • Advised universities on data security and data breach incidents.
    • Counseled and advised institutions of higher education on technology transactions, transfers and privatization, including technologies developed by faculty members.
    • Developed an online acceptance procedure for all student athlete compliance forms.
    • Prepared revised policies and procedures addressing data security and data breach issues for a major research university.
  • Litigation


    • Advised a client in responding to RIAA notices and pre-litigation notices and subpoenas.
    • Handled a federal false claims act suit that was brought against a university.
    • Litigated matters relating to non-profit status, non-profit standing and governance issues on behalf of colleges and universities.
    • Defended numerous personal injury claims including those brought by a student who was injured while using a welding torch in a sculpture class, students injured while playing football and ice hockey and students who were victims of campus intruders.
    • Defended defamation claims brought against a university alleging that it was liable for certain writings of its employee.
    • Represented a state university in lawsuit asserting claims for breach of sponsored research agreement.
    • Defended a major research university against claims bills.
    • Investigated and recommended termination of a college president and defended the college in the litigation resulting from the termination.
    • Assisted a university in developing its five-year plans, as mandated in Florida, and represented the university in subsequent litigation regarding its plans in administrative and circuit courts.
    • Represented a university in litigation regarding a major reconstruction of its swimming pool that a subcontractor destroyed with improper work.
    • Defended a public school district in a high profile jury trial involving claims of constitutional violations brought by a teacher who was disciplined for assisting students taking a standardized test.
    • Represented a public city school district in a lawsuit against a former employee for breach of fiduciary duty, including violating the Rules of Professional Conduct.
    • Represented a school district in numerous special education due process hearings and disciplinary hearings and with regard to general education law.
    • Assisted a university in responding to a NCAA class action lawsuit.
    • Represented a university and its athletic coaches in litigation involving spinal cord and brain injuries arising from claims of negligent supervision and training.
    • Assisted in obtaining a multimillion dollar verdict for a large public university after a seven-week bench trial arising from the allegedly deficient design of $100 million basketball arena.
    • Argued in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and obtaining reversal of an administrative educational due process decision against a school district.
    • Represented a Delaware school district in one of the first challenges of a state regulation issued under the No Child Left Behind Act in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
  • Labor and Employment


    • Reviewed over 10,000 positions to determine exempt/non-exempt status and assisted with employee communications concerning the change of status.
    • Defended a university athletics coach in a civil rights action brought by a former player claiming discrimination based on race and sexual orientation.
    • Handled many employee benefit and ERISA matters for higher learning institutions, including executive compensation matters and arrangements.
    • Guided a university in the development of a complete special 457(f) eligible deferred compensation plan for its president to complement other existing tax-favored retirement plan benefits and 403(b) arrangements and negotiated an employment contract renewal for a key university executive and designed an enhanced retirement package, consisting of 457(f) eligible deferred compensation benefits and modified 403(b) matching benefits.
    • Participated in review of a special payment program to determine compliance with strictures of 457(f) for eligible deferred compensation plans for tenured faculty who elected a reduced schedule or retirement.
    • Advised on funding considerations and arranged for the documentation needed to coordinate and complete the funding of a special rabbi trust for existing benefit obligations under a 457(f) eligible deferred compensation plan.
    • Analyzed and formulated conclusions to determine if the religious affiliation of a reputed university was sufficient to allow tax-favored retirement programs to qualify for the advantages of “church plan” status.
    • Arranged for and provided oversight of compliance review for several critical legal administrative areas, including HIPAA privacy, COBRA administration, wellness benefit programs, rules for changes in family status and other benefits processing.
    • Gave advice and assisted in assembling information in response to IRS requests for information about employee benefit programs.
    • Represented higher education institutions in OSHA matters.
    • Defended a university in a Title IX class action sports inequity case.
    • Advised higher education institutions on Title IX and VAWA matters.
    • Advised higher education institutions on screening and recruiting matters.
    • Advised universities in departmental reorganizations resulting in force reductions.
    • Advised and assisted a university regarding implementation of its campus police force.
    • Negotiated numerous labor agreements for faculty, coaches and non-professional university employees.
    • Advised private universities in defeating union-organizing attempts.
    • Represented a major research university in negotiating Employment Agreements for high-ranking faculty.
    • Represented a university athletics coach in a civil rights action brought by a former player claiming race and sexual orientation discrimination.
    • Represented a public school district in a high-profile case challenging how the current superintendent was selected.
    • Served as special counsel to a school district when its teachers threatened to walk out because there was no money for negotiations after a referendum failed to pass.
    • Served as special trial counsel for a public city school district in complex employment and civil rights cases in state and federal court, including pretrial, mediation and jury trial matters, working in conjunction with the District's Solicitor.
    • Negotiated concessionary agreements with all of the unions in a public school district and provided strategy advice to the district’s administrators concerning collective bargaining matters.
    • Represented a school district in labor and employment matters ranging from employment litigation to negotiations with the district's three bargaining units – teachers, bus drivers and support staff.
    • Represented a major Philadelphia university and hospital in labor relations matters including union negotiations and supervisory and management training.
  • Immigration


    • Handled several immigration matters for universities for professors, researchers, lecturers and scientists.
    • Pursued temporary and permanent residence on behalf of tenure-track and research faculty members, researchers and support personnel.
    • Counseled foreign student advisors on best practices of addressing immigration needs of foreign students and scholars.
    • Assisted offices of international students and scholars with complex immigration law issues.
    • Advised incoming and graduating foreign national students on aspects of immigration law and assisted universities in placement of foreign students and scholars.
    • Presented on-campus seminars to students and scholars on immigration issues.
    • Developed policies and best practices and procedures for compliance with immigration laws.
    • Counseled and advised on outstanding researcher/professor petitions and O-1 petitions.
    • Advised a university regarding immigration status of a disciplined student.
  • Real Estate


    • Represented a major university in connection with real estate acquisitions, ground and space leases, agency agreements whereby a public/private entity agreed to act on the university's behalf, and architect and contractor agreements.
    • Represented a private culinary school in acquisition and development of a more than 150-acre campus, complete with housing, classrooms and recreational facilities.
    • Represented a university in the acquisition and development of multiple parcels of real estate to create an urban campus.
    • Negotiated and assisted with various design and construction agreements in connection with the development and construction of campus buildings, including “green” projects.
    • Overturned a county's attempt to tax university-owned property being leased for a bank branch in a student center.
    • Negotiated a real estate tax settlement agreement on behalf of a university-owned sports complex that includes multiple hockey rinks, a golf dome, track and field and fitness center.
    • Represented a for-profit trade school in the sale of its business and real estate that had environmental risks.
    • Handled a multimillion-dollar design and construction litigation on behalf of a university involving a new facility that experienced significant structural and design complications.
    • Negotiated and drafted leases, purchase agreements and easements for university-owned property.
    • Advised a university on issues related to potential construction of wind power facilities on university property.
    • Represented a major research university in due diligence and negotiating real estate transactions.
    • Represented a major research university in permitting matters for its research facilities.
    • Represented a major university in obtaining state site plan approvals.
  • Administration and Governance


    • Represented a major research university in negotiating Academic Affiliation Agreements.
    • Advised and assisted a university in an annual OMB Circular A-133 audit.
    • Advised and assisted in implementation of federal financial aid regulations.
    • Represented universities regarding academic laboratories, clinical research and clinical investigation oversight.
    • Developed Freedom of Information Act procedures for a Board of Trustees.
    • Negotiated and drafted service agreements for university bookstores, copying centers, IT services, food service providers, and numerous other educational service providers.
    • Advised universities on compliance with CALEA.
    • Reviewed and revised university bid procedures and bid packages.
    • Redrafted university construction contracts.
    • Reviewed and revised college Bylaws.
    • Negotiated and drafted coaching contracts.
    • Drafted and negotiated agreements for the use of university facilities for concerts and other performances.
    • Advised an athletic director on permissible advertising and political campaign limits on and about a campus sports complex.
  • Constitutional Issues


    • Advised a public institution regarding the establishment of a First Amendment speakers’ corner.
    • Advised a public institution regarding limits of Fourth Amendment searches by its campus police.
    • Defended a First Amendment claim brought by a student claiming his rights were violated when he was punished for posting violent and threatening messages on an internet site.
    • Advised a public university on potential discipline of a faculty member who was accused of racist behavior and of students who held a racially themed party.
    • Defended First Amendment associational claims brought by a national fraternity.
    • Represented universities before the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and state agencies in matters involving accommodations of disabled students.
    • Represented universities before a state department of education in matters involving allegation of discrimination based on national origin.
  • Faculty


    • Negotiated faculty contracts and severance agreements.
    • Advised faculty and department chairs concerning academic matters and standards.
    • Advised a university regarding an intra-faculty dispute.
    • Assisted in investigations of harassment allegations against staff.
    • Advised a university regarding implementation of a Title IX “Dear Colleague” letter.
    • Advised and assisted a university regarding allegations of retaliation by a department head.
    • Advised and assisted in removal of deans and faculty.
    • Served as independent investigator in discrimination and harassment claims brought against faculty and denial of tenure disputes.
    • Defended a private college in the appeal of a faculty member’s denial of tenure.
  • Student Discipline


    • Reviewed and revised student code of conduct for a large public institution.
    • Defended a motion for a temporary restraining order sought by an expelled student who had been disciplined for selling drugs in a dormitory.
    • Defended claims brought by suspended fraternities seeking recognition from a public university.
    • Defended claims brought by students who were suspended for cheating in a college course.
    • Advised a public university on revocation of a graduate degree after it had been conferred.
    • Assisted in investigations of internet harassment by students.
    • Advised a university regarding the removal of a student from a student teaching assignment.