Overview

We regularly advise 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 financings and real estate; 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 advise on Title IX, health care, privacy and data protection, and debt and bond finance.  We also advise on online and distance learning, and issues of equity and academic honesty.

Experience

Employment

Our team advises 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, 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 millions of dollars in tax-exempt bond financing for school operated educational facilities.

Investigations

We assist schools in conducting internal investigations and have represented them before state and federal regulators regarding compliance issues.

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.