Challenged with a changing marketplace for education, institutions of higher education are evolving and embracing innovative ways to become valued community partners, economic development resources and front-runners in the advancement of technology. With these changes come new, unique legal and regulatory challenges that demand a partner who can help.
Our goal is not to be just reactive lawyers to our education clients — we strive to be partners who look for proactive ways to add to your institution's success. We are proud that we have helped over 30 institutions realize their goals — attracting and serving students, retaining top faculty and administrative talent, offering state-of-the-art teaching technology, funding research programs and nurturing strategic partnerships.
At Williams Mullen, we provide experienced, cutting-edge legal advice for clients at all levels of education. Our clients include public and private universities and colleges, primary and secondary independent schools, public school districts, vocational institutions, church-related schools, fraternities and sororities and affiliated foundations, among other supporting organizations.
We are actively involved in boards and associations such as the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the Virginia College Building Authority, and we have participated in speaking engagements for various educational organizations such as the Association of University Real Estate Officials and the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia. In addition, we currently serve as outside general counsel to two private colleges.
The following is a sample of the types of services we provide to clients in the education industry:
Williams Mullen attorneys have assisted educational institutions with matters related to their campuses, including real estate development and leasing, land use, construction, utilities and infrastructure. We can foresee and assist with common issues that arise when managing a school campus, including environmental regulatory considerations, negotiations and acquisition of real property, negotiation and preparation of master leases for student housing, and more.
Endowments and alumni donations, federal grants, bond and capital markets, tax credits — educational institutions must grapple with an array of funding sources each of which has its own considerations. Our attorneys help clients navigate these complex options for fundraising and managing a school’s finances. For campuses that wish to expand, we have access to a full economic development team that can help manage public-private partnerships, find financing sources and help your school grow.
From the classroom to sports programs to student affairs, higher education institutions must follow a growing number of state and federal regulations surrounding students and faculty. Our Education team can help avoid costly legal battles by providing counsel to help keep schools in compliance. Our attorneys are experienced in Title IX and Clery Act compliance, Title IV financial aid programs, athletics (including NCAA compliance), student affairs (including disciplinary boards and the Greek system), and more. When it comes to faculty and staff, our team includes attorneys with extensive experience in board governance, labor and employment, ERISA and other benefits programs, and more.
As a full-service law firm, Williams Mullen is committed to helping find a solution at the state capital, if necessary. Our lobbying team routinely assists educational institutions and can serve as advocates for your interests within state government and monitor pertinent legislation to ensure that your voice is heard and recognized.
Colleges and universities are often the sources of the latest technology, innovation and research, and our team of attorneys can help protect a school’s investment and ensure the best use of these developments. In protecting your intellectual property, advising on regulations, providing export control counsel in case you are sending technology or information overseas, and advising on the use of contractors, our attorneys can offer experienced and knowledgeable information to make the most of your work.
Gavels & Gowns: An Education Law Podcast
Williams Mullen Gavels & Gowns: An Education Law Podcast explores topics that are important to leaders of institutions of primary, secondary and higher education.