We represent colleges, universities, secondary schools, charter schools, research foundations, and academic medical centers. These institutions confront challenges daily, many with far-reaching legal and financial implications. From preeminent national universities to regional day schools, Hinckley Allen has a century-long tradition of guiding our clients through their most critical matters.

General Experience; Multidisciplinary Expertise

We assist trustees and governing committees on strategy, including serving as outside general counsel; advise school leaders on tax-exempt and taxable financings and real estate; and represent schools on disciplinary matters, student and faculty issues, misconduct allegations, and internal investigations. From sensitive risk management to routine contract drafting, our team provides a wide range of practical, timely advice to clients. Our multidisciplinary approach includes expert tax, employment, nonprofit, and health care attorneys.

Our specialties include advising schools on financial, labor and employment, intellectual property, environmental, and real estate matters. We offer guidance on ever-changing regulatory, technology, and tax matters, manage issues that arise in the course of constructing campus projects, and negotiate employment and service-provider contracts. We also counsel on Title IX, health care, privacy and data protection, and debt and bond finance, and provide guidance on online and distance learning, and issues of equity and academic honesty.



Our team represents colleges, universities and their administrators on labor and employment-related issues, including hiring, layoffs, student and faculty contracts, handbooks, discipline, terminations and tenure. We negotiate employment agreements, incentive and deferred compensation agreements, and assist in drafting and revising workplace policies and practices, as well as offer faculty and administrator training programs. Our lawyers also are experienced in successfully defending academic institutions in complex wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge, Family and Medical Leave Act, and sexual harassment cases.

Real Estate; Construction

Our education team includes real estate environmental, land use and zoning lawyers experienced in assisting academic institutions in the financing, acquisition, development, expansion, leasing, and disposition of properties, buildings and facilities. We advocate for educational entities in securing community support for development projects, represent them in public hearings, and help them obtain all necessary permits and approvals. Our team also offers guidance in the planning, design and construction of facilities, and has advised on a number of alternative energy projects, including solar power systems for schools, power purchase agreements, and related tax incentives.

Health Care

We advise schools and academic medical institutions regarding their health center operations, medical and mental healthcare-related issues, HIPAA, HiTECH, patient privacy concerns, and disability-related matters.

Tax-Exempt Finance

Our team has helped secure billions of dollars in tax-exempt bond financing for school operated educational facilities.


We assist schools in conducting internal investigations and have represented them before state and federal regulators regarding compliance issues. Our experience also includes providing advice and guidance to students (and families) of a New England college, who are facing disciplinary hearings stemming from the students’ alleged failure to adhere to the college’s COVID 19-related residential and student life rules.

Research Integrity & Conflicts of Interest

We advise universities and academic medical centers on a variety of multi-disciplinary concerns ranging from allegations of research misconduct and data manipulation, to potential violations of the False Claims Act and concerns for undue foreign influence, to managing financial and other conflicts of interests, to disputes over ownership of Intellectual Property. Our team helps ensure that policies are up to date and compliant, and internal audits and risk-assessments are conducted in a timely manner, so that institutions remain in the good graces of federal funding authorities.

Risk Mitigation

Our team assists academic institutions in drafting, revising, implementing and enforcing policies, protocols and best practices to minimize risk. Taking a proactive approach, we identify student and faculty safety and welfare risks, financial irregularities, and alleged misconduct. Then we evaluate exposure and develop effective avoidance and response plans. We offer board, administrator and faculty risk mitigation training, conduct independent investigations regarding misconduct allegations, and advise on the interplay between confidentiality, disclosure and family communications.

Title IX

Hinckley Allen lawyers have successfully represented academic institutions in responding to Title IX allegations. We have negotiated sensitive, confidential settlements of sexual assault allegations, advised on statutory reporting obligations, and represented clients in interacting with state prosecutors and local law enforcement. Further, we have assisted educational institutions in developing, implementing and enforcing internal compliance policies regarding student safety and in ensuring legal compliance.

News & Insight


Scrutiny on Foreign Influence Continues with Institutions in the “Hot Seat”

September 20, 2021

The Government’s increased scrutiny on potential foreign influence on U.S. based research remains in full force. While the federal government continues to prosecute individual scientists alleged to have received – and not disclosed – foreign support …

Firm News

58 Hinckley Allen Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® in America 2022

August 19, 2021

Hinckley Allen is pleased to announce that 58 attorneys are recognized in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, including 8 “Lawyers of the Year.” Best Lawyers® has also recognized 15 Hinckley Allen attorneys in their inaugural "Ones to W…

Firm News

Hinckley Allen Expands Litigation Group with Eight Lateral Hires from Barrett & Singal

January 5, 2021

Hinckley Allen today announced that eight trial lawyers from Barrett & Singal have joined the Firm, including Co-Chairs of Barrett & Singal’s Litigation group, Co-Chairs of its Research Misconduct group, and its General Counsel. All eight new hir…

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