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Colleges and Universities

Shipman & Goodwin’s school law attorneys represent leading colleges and universities throughout Connecticut and nationally. We represent higher education clients of all sizes, denominations and philosophies, including public and private colleges and universities, professional schools, medical schools, research universities, and performing and visual arts schools.

We advise our higher education clients on a full range of legal matters, including student issues, faculty issues, governance, finance, government relations, intellectual property, employment and labor relations, real estate, construction, environmental compliance and risk management, taxation, and technology.

In dealing with high-profile and sensitive issues, we recognize the importance of maintaining positive campus morale and reputation management.  We strive to anticipate and effectively address any potential collateral consequences of decisions or actions that might have an impact on these important factors.  Moreover, our attorneys are experienced in balancing confidentiality issues and Freedom of Information implications (where applicable) when handling high-visibility matters.

Our litigators advocate for our higher education clients on a national level, handling litigation of all types, including employment, collections, criminal investigations of student and faculty conduct, and defense of claims. We have achieved positive results on a number of high-profile cases before state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.  On behalf of one of our university clients, we successfully defended a result in Connecticut Supreme Court, setting a national precedent as to a donor’s challenge to the use of charitable gifts. 

We routinely assist educational institutions in conducting internal investigations and defending against grand jury, legislative and agency investigations. We defend our education clients in a variety of litigation and problem-solving contexts, including sexual harassment and assault, rape, use of force, and public safety issues. For example, we assisted university clients with criminal proceedings arising from an on-campus student riot.  We have also addressed situations involving accusations of student substance abuse, sexual assault, and other offenses. 

With a robust team of business and finance attorneys and a firm-wide focus on technology- and biotechnology-centric clients, we are able to provide unique insight to colleges and universities with potential interests in spin-off formations, organization, governance or financing. In addition, we regularly advise our university clients, their faculty and technology transfer offices in matters involving sponsored research and consulting agreements.

Employment and Labor Matters
We counsel higher education institutions on the full range of employment matters, including employment policies; employee and student handbooks; classification of employees; employment agreements; discrimination claims such as age, disability, race and sex claims; disciplinary procedures; tenure disputes; and layoffs and terminations.  We also represent clients in all areas of labor relations, including union activities, contract negotiation and administration.  We have advised clients regarding union-organizing campaigns and representation elections; collective bargaining and impasse-resolution procedures; strikes, lockouts, picketing, and other concerted activity; grievance and arbitration procedures; and defense of unfair labor practice claims. 

We represent clients in matters before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Connecticut Department of Labor, and the National Labor Relations Board.  Our higher education clients also benefit from our experience with immigration law in staff hiring and retention, including the handling of visa applications.

Governance
Our attorneys advise higher education clients on best practices for the functioning of boards, bylaws, and conflict-of-interest policies.  We counsel clients and their boards on crisis management, including corporate communications, media relations, and student relations.  We also have extensive experience assisting colleges and universities with structuring and documenting ombuds programs.  Shipman & Goodwin partner Chuck Howard authored the leading treatise on organizational ombuds, The Organizational Ombudsman, and has a national practice representing organizational ombuds at colleges and universities. 

Intellectual Property Matters
Our attorneys have handled a variety of intellectual property matters for a range of higher education clients across the country, including software contract negotiations; copyright counseling; intellectual property assignment/licensing agreements; trademark licensing, registration and counseling; data privacy counseling; research and consulting agreements; faculty inventions; commercialization of technology developed at the institution; non-compete agreements and non-disclosure issues; internet, e-mail and social media issues, and website development.

Real Estate, Environmental and Construction
Our real estate attorneys advise higher education clients on a variety of matters, including the acquisition, development and management of property; planning and zoning; conveyancing; and leasing.  Our construction attorneys assist our clients with respect to projects including academic buildings, dormitories, dining facilities, and athletic facilities.  In addition, we represent educational institutions on a wide range of energy/clean energy projects.

Our environmental, health and safety attorneys assist higher education clients with environmental, health and safety regulatory compliance; environmental permitting; financing; environmental insurance and risk management in construction matters; and business and real estate transactions.

We have broad experience with the regulatory aspects of contaminated properties, and we have extensive experience with site assessments, environmental auditing, reporting, record keeping and other compliance obligations under various programs governing asbestos, lead, PCBs, mold and other environmental, health and safety issues. 

Professional Development and Training
We conduct regular on-site professional development and training workshops on a variety of legal issues and matters of concern, including:

  • ADA and Accommodations
  • Data Privacy, Security and Regulatory Compliance
  • Legislative Updates
  • Sexual Harassment Prevention
  • Social Media Use by Students and Faculty
  • Confidentiality and Student Information
  • Effective Response to Assault and Harassment Claims
  • Title IX Compliance
  • Student and Faculty Misconduct and Professional Boundaries
  • Enrollment Contracts

For more information and to schedule an on-site training, visit our Professional Development and Training Workshops page.

Attorneys

Donna L. Brooks
Partner
dbrooks@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5917
Hartford Office
Raymond J. Casella
Partner
rcasella@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5808
Hartford Office
Christine L. Chipman
Partner
cchipman@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5048
Hartford Office
Bruce A. Chudwick
Partner
bchudwick@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5114
Hartford Office
Brian Clemow
Partner
bclemow@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5711
Hartford Office
Richard I. Cohen
Partner
rcohen@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5803
Hartford Office
Leander A. Dolphin
Partner
ldolphin@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5086
Hartford Office
Brenda A. Eckert
Partner
beckert@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5712
Hartford Office
Christopher E. Engler
Associate
cengler@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5143
Hartford Office
Julie C. Fay
Partner
jfay@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5009
Hartford Office
Charles L. Howard
Partner
choward@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5616
Hartford Office
Gabriel J. Jiran
Partner
gjiran@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5520
Hartford Office
Anne H. Littlefield
Partner
alittlefield@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5715
Hartford Office
Lisa Banatoski Mehta
Partner
lbanatoski@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5514
Hartford Office
Peter J. Murphy
Partner
pjmurphy@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5950
Hartford Office
Jessica L. Ritter
Partner
jritter@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5034
Hartford Office
William J. Roberts
Partner
wroberts@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5051
Hartford Office
Kevin M. Roy
Partner
kroy@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5162
Hartford Office
Morgan P. Rueckert
Partner
mrueckert@goodwin.com
860-251-5821
Hartford Office
Gary S. Starr
Partner
gstarr@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5501
Hartford Office
John E. Wertam
Partner
jwertam@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5813
Hartford Office
Joseph P. Williams
Partner
jwilliams@goodwin.com
(203) 836-2804
New Haven Office
Hartford Office
Linda L. Yoder
Partner
lyoder@goodwin.com
(860) 251-5717
Hartford Office

Publications

February 23, 2017  U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Withdraw Federal Transgender Student Guidance
January 25, 2017  U.S. Department of Education Changes Name of Office Responsible for FERPA
December 12, 2016  Guide for 401(k) and 403(b) Plan Administrators
November 23, 2016  Breaking News: Judge Stops New Overtime Rule
October 3, 2016  Family Policy Compliance Office Issues FERPA Privacy Guidelines
August 29, 2016  Compliance Conundrum -- Unauthorized Exports v. Discrimination: Find a Win in a Lose-Lose Scenario
May 17, 2016  Department of Justice and Office of Civil Rights Issue Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students
May 6, 2016  Approaching the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's New STEM OPT Extension Regulations with Caution
March 10, 2016  The Test for Independent Contractors and Unemployment Taxes Made Friendlier
March 2, 2016  The Complaint Over Lunch With the Boss As Protected Activity
January 14, 2016  Can Graduate Student Assistants Unionize?
June 24, 2015  New Prohibitions on Discrimination for Unpaid Interns
March 13, 2015  Government Group Scrutinizing Policies at Campuses
January 26, 2015  Educational Institutions Face Heightened Scrutiny
January 23, 2015  Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth
November 24, 2014  Ebola Guidance for Schools: Focusing on the Basics
September 2013  Tips for Writing Student Handbooks
August 11, 2011  New IRS Compliance Check Project to Target Higher Education Organizations and their 403(b) Plans
June 15, 2011  IRS Revokes Tax-Exempt Status of Hundreds of Thousands of Organizations and Provides Guidance on Reinstatement Process
March 25, 2011  Educational Organizations: Revenue Generated from Room Rentals
August 19, 2010  Exempt Organizations Update
Spring 2006  Employment Law Letter
Winter 2006  Employment Law Letter

Events

November 8, 2017  CLE Event: Webinar: I-9 Compliance, Visa Options, and Immigration Law Update for Colleges and Universities
August 10, 2017  Webinar: Deemed Exports and Utilizing Research Universities
June 13, 2017  Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) 2017 Member Forum
May 12, 2017  2017 Connecticut Education Network Annual Conference
May 12, 2017   Lehigh University's 45th Special Education Law Conference
March 20, 2017  Adjunct Faculty and Graduate Student Unionizing
February 22, 2017  Webinar: The Essential Guide for 401(k) and 403(b) Plan Administrators for Colleges and Universities
February 10, 2017  Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for Colleges and Universities
October 11, 2016  Webinar: Compliance Conundrum--Unauthorized Exports v. Discrimination
October 7, 2016  New Themes in ADA Compliance
September 28, 2016   Webinar: Impact of the recent NLRB Decision
June 21, 2016  Important CT College and University Update on the New Federal Overtime Rule
June 15, 2016  Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) 2016 Member Forum
April 19, 2016  Mediating on the Inside
March 31, 2016  The Intersection of Sports and Education Law
December 1, 2015  Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC): Legal Issues in Admissions for Independent Colleges
October 2, 2015  Union Organizing Among Adjunct Faculty: If It's in the Comics...Is It Time to Pay Attention?
May 13, 2015  Webinar: Top Tips for Accommodations under the ADA - Who's Ready for Summer Camp?
January 13, 2015  Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) 2015 Member Forum
November 24, 2014  Union Organizing Update
November 7, 2014  Effective Response to Sexual Violence Claims on Campus Under Title IX
June 12, 2014  Webinar: Transmitting Technology, Commodities and Software - How U.S. Export Controls Impact Universities and Research Institutions
May 22, 2014  CT CHAND: College Health Symposium
June 13, 2013  The Legal and Tax Implications of the IRS Final Report on the Colleges and Universities Compliance Project
June 12, 2013  NLRB Decisions and Other Red Flags: Helpful Hints for Human Resources Professionals, Supervisors and Managers
April 9, 2013  Doors to Higher Education
February 2012  NLRB: New Activism, New Requirements and Employment Law Update
July 22, 2008  Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges- CFO Roundtable
June 12, 2006  2006 CBA Annual Meeting Connecticut Labor and Employment Law Developments 2005-2006
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