Higher Education Law
Colleges and universities carry out their educational missions in a complex legal environment. College and university administrators and trustees require advisors who truly understand their challenges relating to regulatory compliance, students, parents, financial constraints, influential donors, the surrounding neighborhood, campus safety and law enforcement.
 
Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.’s Higher Education Law Team understands these challenges. Our clients confidently turn to us for the breadth of our relevant experience in matters that affect their institutions, as well as for the practical and creative insights required to assist in the advancement of their unique missions and strategic goals.
 
With the leadership of Arthur T. Phillips, former senior associate general counsel for a major university (over 10,000 students and 1,000 faculty members), WHD provides unique insights rarely achieved by outside legal counsel.
 
Our multi-disciplinary team of higher education law attorneys address the many challenges our clients face, by providing practical, proactive counsel in the following areas:
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Labor and employment
  • Employee benefits and compensation
  • Tax exempt organizations and governance
  • Finance, real estate and environmental
  • Copyright, trademark and patent
  • Technology
  • Governmental relations

Our Approach

Given the numerous and multi-disciplinary legal issues addressed by educational institutions, advancing the unique interests of a particular college or university requires experience, creativity and a thorough understanding of the institution’s mission, culture, programs, constituencies and strategic goals.
 
WHD’s Higher Education Law Team is committed to establishing a close working relationship with each client. We leverage our dual education and legal expertise, working efficiently and creatively to produce outcomes that benefit the institution in particular and its educational community as a whole. For clients that may find the maintenance of an in-house counsel office infeasible, we act as general counsel for many, if not all, of their legal needs.

Representative Engagements

Our team offers comprehensive risk assessments of an institution’s compliance with and policies relating to the following:
  • Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Clery Act
  • Property tax exemptions
  • Trademark, copyright (including fair use) and school symbols
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and security
  • Disaster and crisis response preparedness
  • Student conduct codes
  • 403(b) plans
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Healthcare Reform)
  • Records management and retention
  • Undocumented students
  • Alcohol, drug use and mental illnesses
  • Sexual assault, other criminal misconduct and law enforcement reporting
The Higher Education Law Team has extensive experience within the multi-disciplinary challenges educational institutions face including:
 
Student-Related Engagements
  • Dealing with dating violence and other safety or security issues
  • Responding to enforcement inquiries by the Department of Education and other regulatory agencies
  • Defending decisions to impose discipline
  • Complying with FERPA and other laws relating to student privacy rights
Faculty-Related Engagements
  • Faculty and senior administration contract drafting and negotiation
  • Allegations of wrongful treatment in the denial of tenure or discipline of tenured faculty member
  • Deferred compensation arrangements for senior administration and coaches
Financial- and Administration-Related Engagements
  • Requirements to maintain tax-exempt status
  • Tax rules applicable to fundraising and charitable giving
  • Tax rules relating to unrelated business income tax (UBIT)
  • Software and information systems contracting
  • Construction and design contracts
  • Internship, affiliation and service learning contracts
  • Naming rights and sponsorship contracts
  • Preventing and responding to data privacy and file sharing breaches
  • Bond financing

Our Team

The graduate and postgraduate educational experience of many of our attorneys provides valuable insight regarding the overall campus environment—an additional perspective that makes us uniquely capable of advancing our clients’ interests.
 
The team’s goal is not only to do our best work for clients in a timely and cost-effective manner, but also to do so with a thorough understanding of each client’s mission, vision and strategic priorities and, because we understand that scheduled and unanticipated events on campus do not occur on a traditional “nine-to-five” basis, our team will ensure that all issues which arise receive immediate and thorough attention.