Higher Education Labor & Employment



For higher education clients looking to meet their labor and employment and employee benefit goals, we use our interdisciplinary platform and strategic, forward thinking approach to provide real life answers to real life challenges.

Our approach

Higher education institutions are major employers in our communities, creating immense opportunity. But the changing maze of rules governing labor and employment presents unique obstacles.

Institutions need the right partner to help keep their business moving forward—handling relations with tenured faculty and researchers, managing myriad job descriptions across the same department and executive compensation scrutiny.

Our comprehensive, “one-stop shop” covers the gamut.

From employee terminations and collective bargaining agreements, to tenure disputes, qualified retirement plans and fiduciary counseling, we are constantly tracking evolving employment laws and market trends to spot what’s next. Keeping your goals at the forefront, we institute state-of-the-art practices and innovative trainings to help you build a better workplace at your institution.

We use our creative approach for advice, strategic planning, training, preventive action, alternative dispute resolution and litigation if and when necessary.

Who we work with

  • Research universities
  • Public universities
  • Small private colleges
  • Professional schools
  • Medical schools
  • Schools of the performing and visual arts

Recent experience

  • Executive compensation: transitioning to a new president—A governing board decided not to renew the employment of its president, who was serving without a contract. We were engaged to help plan and negotiate an orderly departure that would both reflect well on the institution and the former president. When the search for a new leader was conducted, our advice was key to providing the comfort that both the board and the new president deserved in reflecting their relationship and the incentives desired to help attain institutional goals. The approach was one honed not only by our years of experience in negotiating such contracts, but in defending them from challenges by regulators.
  • Labor and employment: avoiding a union strike—A teaching hospital in New York City was threatened with a strike over its refusal to agree to participate in the union’s costly pension plan. A strike would have been calamitous for the city because two neighboring hospitals in the borough had closed recently and there would have been inadequate capacity to handle trauma and other emergency cases. With 48 hours to go before the strike was set to begin, our attorneys advised a strategy that permitted both sides to retreat from the brink and agree to a cooling-off period without either side giving up anything. Later, the dispute was resolved without a work stoppage.
  • Employee benefits: health care and retirement plans—We have helped universities and colleges structure and redesign their health care plans to comply with Health Care Reform. We have assisted colleges and universities in re-designing their qualified retirement programs to comport with fiduciary best practices and to comply with new disclosure requirements.

Higher Education Should Note Recent Title VII Rulings

Law360 | April 05, 2018

This expert analysis of recent circuit court decisions involving claims of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at colleges and universities was co-written by Albany government investigations and white-collar defense partner Tina Sciocchetti, Boston government investigations and white-collar defense associate Julianna Malogolowkin and Rochester commercial litigation associate Zachary Osinski.

Revisiting Title IX process could benefit all lawyers say

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly | October 05, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steven Richard provides commentary in this article about the Trump administration’s Title IX guidance document.

The requirements of California wage and hour law: a primer

Bender’s California Labor & Employment Bulletin | September 01, 2017

Los Angeles labor and employment counsel Dale Hudson and associate Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan authored this article on California’s wage and hour mandates for employers.

Avoiding retirement plan risk

University Business | November 01, 2016

Rochester Labor & Employment partners Eric Paley and Christian Hancey are both quoted in this article discussing the impact retirement plan fee litigation, which many colleges and universities are facing, has on the higher education community.

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