Amy C. Foerster is co-chair of the Higher Education Practice Group and a partner in the Trial and Dispute Resolution Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, resident in the Harrisburg office. Ms. Foerster provides litigation, counseling and investigative services to colleges, universities and schools across the country, leveraging her broad higher education experience to provide practical advice in the myriad complex matters facing institutions of higher education.
Ms. Foerster has provided extensive advice to colleges, universities and K-12 schools in areas such as Title IX and the Clery Act, employee and student misconduct, fundraising and major gift agreements, federal and state regulatory compliance, governing board activities and shared governance. Before joining Pepper, Ms. Foerster was general counsel and chief of staff at Bucknell University. In this role, she was responsible for all legal affairs of the university, served as parliamentarian for the board of trustees, oversaw the institution’s risk management program, and worked closely with the university’s president to advance Bucknell’s mission and strategic vision. Ms. Foerster draws on this deep experience working with trustees, faculty and administrators when supporting colleges and universities as they navigate challenging situations requiring consideration of those diverse perspectives.
In the litigation and regulatory enforcement area, Ms. Foerster has defended colleges and universities against a broad spectrum of discrimination, employment (including tenure denial), personal injury and other claims. She has successfully represented colleges and universities facing investigations by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, alleging sex (Title IX) and disability discrimination. Leveraging her prior experience as a medical malpractice defense attorney, Ms. Foerster represents institutions of higher education in connection with serious injury claims, including the defense of a university against a claim that a student-athlete suffered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) through participation in a contact sport.
Ms. Foerster is a recognized thought leader in higher education legal circles and is an active member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), through which she has provided Title IX compliance training to more than 2,700 individuals as one of the three instructors for NACUA’s Title IX Coordinator online program. She frequently presents on issues relevant to colleges, universities and schools, and previously served as an at-large member of NACUA’s board of directors. In 2012, Ms. Foerster received NACUA's First Decade Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a significantly innovative contribution to NACUA or provided outstanding service to the Association and to the practice of higher education law during their first 10 years of NACUA membership.
Before joining Bucknell’s leadership team, Ms. Foerster was a litigation partner at Saul Ewing LLP, where she co-chaired the firm’s higher education group. She previously served as a senior deputy attorney general with the Civil Litigation Section of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and was an assistant counsel with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Chief Counsel, where she was primary counsel to the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education.