Higher education institutions face increasing and rapidly shifting compliance, operations and litigation pressures. With so much at stake, more than 100 clients turn to Husch Blackwell’s Higher Education attorneys for legal guidance, so that they can concentrate on effective and efficient service to their students and communities.
Representing major research institutions, regional universities, private colleges, nursing and allied health schools, community colleges, proprietary schools and publicly traded school groups, we help clients identify and resolve potential problems and litigation through compliance audits, policy programs, training and general counsel services.
As a multidisciplinary, full-service firm, we offer the complete range of services, many at predictable flat fees, necessary to meet the unique legal needs of institutions of higher learning.
Compliance and Strategy
Clients partner with us to receive high-level comprehensive policy and procedure audits, as well as in-depth systems audits, to identify, understand and remedy challenges in key areas of potential liability. Institutions also have access to model and customized policies to help meet program requirements and customized training as needed.
Student affairs professionals encounter a host of governmental regulations and requirements including Title IX/sexual harassment, the Clery Act, the First Amendment and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). We assist by drafting policies, reviewing and updating student handbooks and providing comprehensive training. We counsel on scenarios including student discipline, student dismissal, and student complaints of faculty and staff misconduct. In addition, we conduct investigations of alleged student misconduct and recommend options for resolution under existing institutional policies.
Title IV Federal Student Aid and Finances
Federal Student Aid is a lifeline for students and critical for an institution’s sustainability. We help clients obtain initial approval to participate in the Title IV student aid programs and then work through issues that may affect their program participation agreement. We take a proactive approach to ensure compliance with consumer disclosures, and we provide experienced and effective representation when clients are faced with adverse audit or program review findings.
Litigation and Administrative Actions
From the start of an investigation through all phases of litigation, clients receive guidance and advocacy from the knowledgeable trial attorneys on Husch Blackwell’s Higher Education team. Our litigators regularly defend schools in a wide variety of matters including high-profile civil rights, consumer protection, class action lawsuits, False Claims Act (qui tam), employment, and contract lawsuits and arbitrations. They understand how to properly handle disputes unique to the business of higher education.
Outside General Counsel
Our attorneys serve as outside general counsel to many institutions seeking day-to-day help with managing and navigating the higher education legal landscape. We apply our understanding of each client’s unique culture and operations to recommend the right actions for each individual institution.
Labor and Employment
Our team includes labor and employment attorneys positioned to help schools navigate a full range of matters and compliance issues unique to their environment and subject to social and political scrutiny. Our education-specific experience includes tenure, employee benefits, immigration, compensation, discrimination, internal revenue and collective bargaining issues.