To achieve financial success today and thrive over time, educational institutions like yours need to adapt to the changing business model. Whether your institution is public, private, or for-profit, we have the necessary experience and practice depth to help you find practical, innovative legal solutions that support your strategy.

Our attorneys provide industry-specific insight in areas including endowment management, federal funding, intellectual property, and privacy and security. We help our clients meet challenges ranging from leadership and compensation matters to project financing and bond issues. Our clients rely on our counsel to successfully navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act, NCAA rules, and international student requirements; manage data privacy and other issues associated with online courses; and implement effective crisis communications. We also advise and represent university faculty and institutes on intellectual property matters. Providing assistance in all of these and additional areas, our team helps educational institutions develop long-term strategies for continued success, and move forward with confidence to advance their vision.

Areas of Focus

  • Leadership and compensation advice and counsel, including contract negotiations, for boards of directors, senior executives, and presidents
  • NCAA compliance and issue management
  • Federal funding assessment assistance
  • Strategies for university / academic medical center alignment
  • Bond counsel and borrower’s counsel
  • Intellectual property matters
  • Endowment fund establishment, management, and governance
  • Licensing agreements
  • Governance issues and procedures
  • Contracting agreements with vendors
  • Board internal investigations
  • Immigration services for faculty members, international students, and recent graduates

Affordable Care Act
Health care reform raises legal, regulatory, political, operational, actuarial / economic, and public policy issues. We provide counsel and strategic advice on a vast range of Affordable Care Act coverage, benefit, and insurance-related issues.

The treatment of adjunct faculty has raised complex compliance issues. Adjuncts currently represent a large percentage of the faculty at the majority of educational institutions. There can be substantial penalties if you incorrectly determine the preparation hours outside of actual classroom teaching. An institution with a large number of part-time faculty members could see penalties add up quickly. We have advised numerous colleges, universities, and private schools on this issue and believe we can offer the guidance you need to assess your current practices and mitigate your liability under the Affordable Care Act.

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Compensating your leadership team is a hot-button issue today. We frequently counsel boards of trustees and college and university officers on such matters as contracts, executive compensation, performance evaluation, goal-setting, current and deferred compensation, Intermediate Sanctions, Sarbanes-Oxley, governance issues, Form 990 reporting, affirmative action plans, and best practices for managing their institutions.

In order to compete for new students, educational institutions have been embarking on construction projects to modernize existing structures and build new academic facilities and housing. In any phase of a project, problems can arise. Having experienced counsel advocating for your best interests is often critical in advancing projects to successful completion.

Our attorneys are adept in both the public and private sectors and have a track record of navigating projects to completion smoothly and cost-effectively. Because we represent owners and contractors, we have a 360-degree vantage point to better anticipate expectations and identify potential issues and roadblocks.

Crisis Communications & Strategic Public Relations
Crises can arise at any time. An organization can never predict when an employee will file a sexual harassment complaint against an executive, a data breach will take place, or institution information will be made public through Form 990 filings. What you can control, however, is how your organization handles a crisis.

Even before a crisis occurs, the ML Strategies Crisis Communications team will develop a plan for your organization that can be deployed immediately to handle emergencies. From the first official statement to the ongoing media relations, messaging, and legal strategy, the team can manage the perception of your organization as well as your reputation during and after the crisis. ML Strategies works side by side with our Mintz Levin legal team, or as an independent entity, to provide exactly the service that your particular situation requires.

Employment & Labor
Employment relationships are among the most regulated in the nation, and ensuring compliance with the many laws and regulations impacting the workplace can be quite challenging. Mintz Levin can help you navigate this complex legal environment, delivering practical advice and counsel to help you make smart decisions and minimize risks.

Our labor attorneys have broad experience representing organizations with traditional labor issues as well as developing proactive labor relations strategies. We routinely advise our education clients on collective bargaining issues, union avoidance, and contract administration, and we regularly represent clients before the NLRB with respect to unfair labor practice charges and union election proceedings. We have extensive experience on a broad range of labor relations issues, including terminations, internal investigations, employment policies, and workforce reductions.

Financing & Transactions
Investing in facilities allows your institution to not only fulfill its educational mission, but also ensure its long-term growth and sustainability. We serve as bond counsel, underwriters’ counsel, and borrower’s counsel on financings for educational institutions, including research and development facilities, colleges, universities, and secondary schools. Through tax-exempt and taxable bond financing programs, we have helped institutions invest in the building of state-of-the-art educational facilities that provide some of the best educational experiences in the world, and build laboratory spaces to perform government- and corporate-funded research.

Graduate Medical Education
Our attorneys advise institutions facing accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which accredits graduate medical education programs in academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, and by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which accredits medical schools.

We regularly counsel institutions and teaching programs on compliance with ACGME and Residency Review Committee requirements, and medical schools on compliance with LCME standards. We also work with clients on their periodic reviews, and represent them when necessary to rebut adverse evaluations, including handling ACGME and LCME administrative hearings.

As more non-US students are recruited and accepted by your US institution, it is more important than ever that your in-house counsel and human resources team comply with immigration processes for new and existing students.

In addition, as you bolster your faculty with international professors in the sciences, economics, and the arts, you will need assistance with immigration issues that are often overlooked, such as those associated with bringing their families to the United States on visas.

We provide advice and counsel to help you navigate student immigration regulations successfully, and have assisted numerous institutions with e-verify, pre-hire, and I-9 processes.

Intercollegiate Athletics
The successful management of an intercollegiate athletics program requires coordination and support of several university functions. It is essential to have sound advice and policies to avoid pitfalls that many institutions have faced in contractual disputes, government inquiries, employment-based claims, and investigations by the NCAA. Our intercollegiate athletics team of attorneys provides a full scope of legal services to support higher education clients.

Investment Management & Fund Formation
We have broad experience reviewing and negotiating terms and conditions for endowments of educational institutions across all types of alternative investments and funds.

Our team has been providing educational institutions with advice on investing and on the management of endowment and investment funds for more than 30 years. We have advised on funds of all sizes, comprising many different asset types. Our attorneys can provide support across all areas of alternative investments, such as establishing and governing endowment funds, and the management of investments in venture capital, private equity, real estate, and hedge funds.

Privacy & Security
The frictionless flow of information is a defining feature of today’s information economy, and this is arguably more true of colleges and universities than of other institutions. The ability to transfer courses and programs, student files, financial records, and other necessary information has opened up a world of opportunity for many institutions and their students, but it is essential to ensure that information is protected. We assist with the formulation and implementation of policies and best practices for information management that are compliant with the changing and growing body of international, federal, and state privacy statutes.

In addition to providing advice and counsel to help ensure data protection, our Privacy & Security Practice is accomplished at managing security breaches and is currently assisting several educational institutions with investigations of data breaches involving vendors.

Real Estate
Whether you’re building a science center or buying properties to serve as housing, having an experienced partner who can lead you through the complexities of real estate deals is necessary for your success.

We represent educational institutions in all issues and matters related to permitting, governmental approvals, environmental compliance, access, and balancing of construction activities during ongoing school activities. Our attorneys bring a unique experience with respect to real estate development in the context of green building and achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Tech Transfer & Intellectual Property Enforcement 
In addition to helping you protect and enforce your intellectual property rights, our attorneys can help you make the most of your IP assets. Our intellectual property and transactional attorneys work closely together to help universities and research institutions maximize the potential of their IP portfolios through joint ventures, strategic alliances, collaborations, and technology transfers.

Wage & Hour
Pay practices at colleges and universities are under close scrutiny, and the stakes are high. The attorneys in our Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice have successfully defended hundreds of employers in lawsuits of all sizes, including those filed by individual employees as well as class actions and collective actions that involve alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws.

Unlike a typical lawsuit, a lawsuit involving wage and hour issues requires the employer to disprove the employee’s claims. Wage and hour audits can limit your liability. Our attorneys can help you comply with applicable laws and avoid these claims, which may arise from misclassification, or erroneously classifying an employee as salaried or exempt; failure to provide appropriate overtime compensation; or improperly labeling employees as independent contractors.

Sort by: Name  Title  Office

Alden J. Bianchi

Alden J. Bianchi

Member / Chair, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Practice

Meghan B. Burke

Meghan B. Burke

Member / Chair, Public Finance Practice & Chair, Education Practice

Barbara Chin

Barbara Chin

Practice Group Associate

Susan J. Cohen

Susan J. Cohen

Member / Founding Chair, Immigration Practice

Elissa Flynn-Poppey

Elissa Flynn-Poppey

Member / Chair, Government Law Practice

William M. Hill

William M. Hill

Member / Co-Chair, Construction Law Practice

William W. Kannel

William W. Kannel

Member / Chair, Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practice

Jeffrey R. Porter

Jeffrey R. Porter

Member / Chair, Environmental Law Practice

Nancy J. Sterling, APR

Nancy J. Sterling, APR

ML Strategies - Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications

Mi-Rang Yoon

Mi-Rang Yoon

Practice Group Associate

Education Products & Services

  • Ongoing privacy compliance advice to a company providing educational software and services to over 3,700 educational institutions in more than 60 countries.

Executive Compensation & Employment

  • Provide legal counsel to educational institutions regarding executive contracts, compensation, and benefits.

Financing & Transactions

  • Representation of a large state teachers’ retirement system in a joint venture for the development, financing, master leasing, and ultimate sale of the new State Street Bank headquarters in Boston’s Financial District.
  • Institution’s counsel to a university in its direct issuance of taxable bonds to refinance outstanding debt.
  • Represented an issuer and conduit borrower on two similar audits examining compliance with exempt facility rules, including lease characterization, accounting record documentation, and useful life limitations. Obtained “no change” letters in both matters.
  • Handled acquisition of a medical college by another educational institution, a transaction valued at $60 million.
  • Bond counsel to the University of Massachusetts Building Authority.
  • Counsel to a university in its bond financings and for post-issuance tax compliance, including matters with respect to Schedule K to the Form 990.
  • Underwriters’ counsel in a transaction with a private university in the public offering and international sale of its own taxable “century” bonds (100-year maturity).

Fund Formation

  • Institutional investors we have represented include MIT, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, Massachusetts Public Retirement Trust, and Ohio State Teachers Retirement Funds.

Graduate Medical Education

  • Counseled a university in the regulatory and accreditation issues related to its establishment of a new medical school.
  • Advised an academic medical center applicant throughout the NIH grant application process and with ongoing compliance with federal grants regulations.
  • Represent UMass Memorial Medical Center in connection with the construction and development of a 300,000-square-foot research and development facility in Worcester, MA.
  • Represented academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, and medical schools in connection with their accreditation by the Accreditation Counsel for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

Representative Clients

  • Brown University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Massachusetts
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Yale University