Education Counseling, Litigation and Investigation Services

LEADERSHIP: Michael E. Baughman and Barbara W. Mather

Pepper Hamilton LLP and Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC (FGIS) are uniquely positioned and experienced in assisting universities, colleges, private secondary schools and other education-related institutions in navigating the complex regulatory and legal environment that face these institutions and leveraging that knowledge in conducting internal investigations and reviews. The combination of Pepper and FGIS brings together a team of lawyers and former federal and state law enforcement officials who have deep knowledge of education law, and the skill and resources to conduct independent, confidential compliance reviews and investigations, counsel boards on best risk management solutions, and, when necessary, defend against litigation threats.

Pepper and FGIS have worked together for several years on compliance, investigations and risk counseling matters, including complex investigations and related work for university clients. FGIS is a global risk management firm providing service in the areas of business integrity and compliance, safety and security, and investigations and due diligence. The management team of FGIS includes former FBI Director and federal judge Louis J. Freeh and other senior law enforcement officials, a former university general counsel, legal consultants, and security and compliance experts.

The Pepper team also includes lawyers with deep knowledge of education law and corporate governance, highly experienced litigators, and former federal and state prosecutors, all with significant experience advising education institutions in connection with a variety of threats. Our team provides high quality and responsive legal services and information to institutions of higher education. Pepper lawyers also serve on the boards of educational institutions.

Working together, Pepper and FGIS offer unparalleled experience to education clients in:

  • counseling on athletic department compliance with NCAA and regional athletic conference rules and requirements, and investigating allegations of misconduct and noncompliance
  • advising on board governance and oversight of institution management, and advising institutional management on effective risk management programs and policies;
  • investigating allegations of sexual abuse or harassment, student/faculty misconduct, criminal matters, discrimination, financial improprieties, violations of federal and state regulations, safety and security problems, and numerous other issues;
  • counseling on institutional compliance with federal and state laws, including the Clery Act, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, Title IX, Title VII, the First Amendment, charitable immunity acts, and disability laws;
  • counseling and advising university boards on the Internal Revenue Code, executive compensation and endowment issues; 
  • advising on the wide range of day-to-day legal issues that confront today’s educational institutions, from labor and employment to construction, intellectual property, procurement, and student affairs issues;
  • serving as an independent monitor for institutions that are subject to a consent decree or court order requiring oversight of their compliance efforts;
  • counseling on admissions policies and procedures, including revising policies in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas;
  • creating, revising and implementing compliance programs, disciplinary codes, and policies on such topics as athletic department compliance, safety and security, student-faculty relations, sexual harassment, hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, and off-campus behavior; and
  • defending educational institutions against inquiries from the Department of Education, and civil and criminal litigation.