We offer our clients advice and guidance on areas such as:
Fox Rothschild's real estate/construction team has extensive experience with institutional clients. Through a proactive approach, our team has negotiated every type of project contract (e.g. architects, engineers, construction managers, consultants, contractors and sub-contractors). In terms of the types of institutional projects, Fox Rothschild has been involved with numerous schools, student centers, chapels, dormitories, eateries and other kinds of buildings. We have been particularly successful in dealing with neighbor and other groups along the way to obtaining variances and other zoning approvals necessary to build these projects. Fox Rothschild also has dealt with procurement issues ranging from retention of professionals to awarding contracts for major construction projects. In so doing, our attorneys have successfully advised clients on how to avoid challenges and in many instances, have been retained to defend challenges made to procurement overseen by other counsel.
The field of tax-exempt financing has undergone tremendous change over the past five years. While most colleges and universities used to simply issue fixed rate bonds, changes (both good and bad) in the credit markets demand an understanding of variable rate debt, credit enhancement, interest rate swaps, investment restrictions and other issues. Increased scrutiny from both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the municipal market has left no room for error. Fox Rothschild's Public Finance Group has participated in dozens of financings for colleges and universities over the past three years alone. We are well positioned to guide our higher education clients through this ever-changing area.
Intellectual Property and Information Technology
Fox Rothschild's Intellectual Property Group is committed to providing clients with a comprehensive approach to leveraging their intellectual capital. Our attorneys have substantial experience in the procurement, management and enforcement of intellectual property rights and provide legal counsel calculated to complement underlying business objectives. We have worked with our clients in developing patent, copyright and distance learning policies, which successfully deal with developing technology within the traditional academic framework. For colleges and universities, we have also worked with administration and faculty in drafting copyright policies, patent polices and distant learning policies.
Labor and Employment
An increasingly important area for all types of institutions is employment law and policies. Our Labor & Employment Department handles all areas of employment law, including, collective bargaining, grievance arbitration, defense of unfair labor practices, tenure/promotion decisions and related claims; employment discrimination and harassment claims; Family and Medical Leave Act; Americans with Disabilities Act; hiring, background check and termination issues; wage and hour compliance; immigration; leave policies; structuring of benefit plans as well as 403(b); and other pension plan compliance. We also provide services designed to help maintain non-union status, which includes training of supervisors in proper employee relations and communications, and human resources development in a union-free environment.
Higher education has become increasingly subject to federal and state regulation. We have worked with clients through issues relating to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), to the extent applicable, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and have developed policies satisfying Gramm-Leach Bliley. We regularly monitor developments in these and other areas affecting students, parents and faculty, including student discipline/expulsion matters, confidentiality/privacy issues, campus security issues, government-sponsored research, accommodation of students with disabilities and Title IX issues.
Student / Parent Issues
Fox Rothschild understands and provides advice on the myriad issues affecting students and their parents, including student discipline/expulsion matters, confidentiality/privacy issues, campus security issues, accommodation of students with disabilities and Title IX issues.
Academic Freedom and First Amendment
Fox Rothschild has a deep understanding of First Amendment issues pertaining to freedom of speech (e.g., speech codes) and religion (e.g., funding of religious organizations). We advise on issues related to the academic freedom of institutions, faculty and students. We handle libel and invasion of privacy claims and provide risk management counseling through seminars, policy development and pre-publication review.
Nonprofit / Tax Representation
Fox Rothschild has a long history of representing nonprofit institutions in general corporate matters as well as in those areas unique to institutions of higher education, such as officer and director liability issues, 501(c)(3) developments, executive compensation, intermediate sanctions, governance, corporate accountability, fundraising regulation, trust administration, tax compliance, and state and local tax developments. Our Corporate and Tax Departments also have substantial experience structuring loan, scholarship and other financial assistance programs.
Fox Rothschild works closely with Development/Planned Giving Offices of higher educational institutions and nonprofits with respect to issues surrounding major gifts and planned giving. For example, we provide advice regarding such planned giving vehicles as charitable trusts, charitable remainder annuity trusts and charitable remainder unitrusts; charitable lead trusts; and gifts of life insurance, marketable securities and real estate. We also represent institutions on issues pertaining to negotiating terms of restrictions on gifts and bequests as well as interpretation of existing restrictions. We provide guidance on the oversight of payment of bequests from the estates of deceased donors. We have strong contacts with the local Attorney General's Office in the event that its guidance or enforcement powers are needed.
Fox Rothschild's Immigration Practice Group attorneys provide leading-edge representation to higher education institutions in connection with the recruitment and retention of international leaders, staff and professionals. We also routinely advise universities with respect to compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, and help establish policies and procedures regarding immigration issues.
White Collar Compliance & Defense
Fox Rothschild's White Collar Compliance & Defense attorneys conduct internal investigations for colleges and universities in a variety of areas, including malfeasance by board members. We also defend institutions and individuals in criminal and related civil matters.