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Practice Highlights

  • Use a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that the unique needs of our educational clients are carefully and creatively addressed
  • Assist institutional personnel with maintaining policies and handbooks that contain enforceable rules, regulations and procedures
  • Provide counsel to administration, faculty and staff on procedures related to internal investigation and dispute resolution, including, grievance committees, appeals committees and student judicial boards

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Education Law

The volume and complexity of legal issues arising in educational institutions has increased dramatically in recent years. The expansion of government regulations, increased attention to civil rights, advances in technology and extended campus environments has raised challenging compliance issues and led to numerous and varied disputes that require consideration of legal issues, operational resources and reasoned responses. Our lawyers partner with institutional personnel to manage these issues in a manner that is consistent with the school’s mission.  

Lawyers in the Education Law Group use a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that the unique needs of our higher education clients are carefully and creatively addressed. We have deep experience in assessing and responding to student and faculty issues including tenure/promotion decisions, student discipline, harassment, sexual assault, misuse of technology, requests for accommodations, academic integrity and free speech. We work with large public and private universities, as well as small independent colleges.

The group regularly assists with maintaining policies and handbooks that contain enforceable rules, regulations and procedures. We have developed and updated policies for students, faculty and staff that include acceptable use of technology, drug testing policies, weapon policies, document retention policies and policies that address faculty-student relationships and conduct. We regularly assist and provide counsel to administration, faculty and staff on procedures related to dispute resolution, including grievance committees, appeals committees and student judicial boards.

We also advise institutions on investigation procedures and remedial actions. Our ATIXA-certified civil rights investigation team has particular experience with Title IX compliance and we assist clients to assure compliance. As part of this process, we routinely conduct investigations of campus sexual misconduct claims to balance the interests of due process and fairness. We are experienced in conducting witness interviews, evaluating evidence, accessing credibility and in applying applicable policies and procedures during the investigative and hearing process.

In all matters, we recognize and respect the institution’s principals and policies. We engage in a productive dialogue and exchange with our institutional clients to assure an understanding of the legal and academic considerations at issue and achieve a balanced and workable outcome.

Labor and Employment

We provide comprehensive litigation services in all areas of labor and employment law, including claims based on discrimination, harassment, disability, leave, wage/hour and contract disputes. Our litigators are experienced and have won significant cases in arbitrations, administrative proceedings, as well as in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels throughout Pennsylvania and the region.

Our lawyers have been involved with matters relating to tenure, including review and analysis of tenure procedures and documents, representation in tenure removal procedures on campus and representation in litigation arising out of tenure decisions.

Athletics

Our lawyers assist in contracting with facilities, opponents and television and radio with respect to broadcast rights. We also provide representation in dealing with the NCAA, including appeals of adverse eligibility decisions, investigations of colleges and universities and negotiating with respect to special events. We also provide advice regarding risk management with respect to potential claims arising from athletics activities, including club sports review and preparation of documents relating to waivers of liability, fitness to participate and assumption of risk.

Intellectual Property

Our lawyers provide counsel and representation in the areas of copyright, trademark, Internet law, electronic communications, licensing to protect computer-related products, defamation and the First Amendment. 

Representative Matters

  • Obtained summary judgment in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that was affirmed in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a tenure denial claim based on national origin 
  • Successfully handled an NCAA appeal on behalf of a foreign student deemed academically ineligible to participate in NCAA competition; the matter involved researching United Kingdom academic standards and programs and resulted in the NCAA reversing its position and granting eligibility
  • Organized the IP portfolio, including trademark registrations, and investigated and opined on claims of copyright infringement made against a tenured professor for a higher education institution
Labor and Employment
  • Obtained summary judgment in a wrongful discharge claim based on age and gender brought by an adjunct faculty member in the state court
  • Obtained dismissal of hostile work environment and retaliation claim based on race, gender and national origin brought by a university admissions counselor
  • Obtained dismissal of Title VII race and gender based claim and retaliation claim brought by applicant for university business office position
Athletics
  • Defended a university with respect to athletic coach claims regarding removal as Senior Women’s Administrator
  • Counseled a university with respect to Title IX compliance relating to its athletic program
  • Counseled a university on negotiation, drafting and interpretation of contracts for Men’s Head Basketball Coach and Head Football Coach
  • Defended a college with respect to a Title IX complaint brought by a student athlete alleging unequal playing time based on race
Intellectual Property
  • Filed numerous trademarks and copyrights and negotiated software and content distribution and license agreements for multiple international non-profit institutions
  • Formulated university intellectual property policy and assisted in establishing a technology transfer group for a leading local university

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