Education Counseling, Litigation and Investigation Services

LEADERSHIP: Michael E. Baughman and Barbara W. Mather

Pepper Hamilton LLP is 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. 

Pepper lawyers 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. The firm has a national reputation for representing educational institutions in high-profile, complex matters, including the foremost practice in the nation focused on the institutional response to all aspects of sexual misconduct matters.

The Pepper team 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.

Pepper offers unparalleled experience to education clients in:

  • 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 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

  • 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

  • defending educational institutions against inquiries from the Department of Education, and civil and criminal litigation.