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Private & Independent Schools



The central challenge for private and independent schools is more important than ever: How to ensure students and families realize a bright future, while weathering the storms of the present.

Our approach

We advise private schools, boarding schools, and other nonprofit educational institutions on a variety of matters, from board governance to daily operations. We understand how private schools function and how they are regulated. We know that protecting an institution’s independence and reputation, and reflecting the values of its community, are vital concerns.

We serve as outside counsel to many private educational institutions, providing full-range legal service on issues that impact students and their families, faculty and staff, alumni, and external stakeholders. NP takes a future-focused approach to these legal needs, anticipating obstacles and devising proactive solutions. Our industry experience will help you address the ever-changing world of education.

Connect with us for

  • Admissions
  • Enrollment contracts and tuition disputes
  • Student, family, and staff policies and handbooks
  • Campus safety programs
  • Crisis and institutional response
  • Student conduct and discipline
  • Sexual misconduct investigations and related litigation
  • Racial equity and inclusion on campus
  • Disability and accommodations
  • Labor and employment, including employee discipline and termination
  • Faculty and staff training and mandatory reporting obligations
  • Benefits, retirement plans, and executive compensation
  • State and federal regulatory compliance
  • Student health services and HIPAA
  • Cybersecurity and data privacy
  • Financing and tax matters
  • Board governance
  • Endowments and planned giving
  • Real estate and construction development and litigation
  • COVID-19-related matters

Recent Experience

  • Providing advice to institutions regarding COVID-19 funding and operational and health-related issues, including how to safely re-open schools.
  • Counseling of top-tier boarding schools concerning allegations of present and historical sexual misconduct involving faculty, staff, and students. Our work has included investigating allegations, coordinating reports to authorities, guiding institutional response, defending civil arbitrations and lawsuits, and creating effective campus safety programs.
  • Representing schools and employees in connection with criminal and civil sexual abuse investigations and litigation, including grand jury appearances and negotiation of non-prosecution settlements.
  • Acting as day-to-day employment counsel on a variety of labor and employment law subjects, including policies; faculty and administrator contracts; employee discipline and discharge decisions; complaints of harassment; management of leaves of absence and disability-related issues; wage-hour issues, including overtime and payroll practices; workforce structuring decisions; and labor relations.
  • Defending institutions against labor and employment-related claims of all types in federal and state courts, and before various administrative agencies. We have favorably resolved disputes initiated by disciplined and terminated employees.
  • Drafting data privacy plans for handling the personal information of students and staff, and data collected by campus health services, to ensure full compliance with applicable state and federal regulations.
  • Representing institutions on finance and general corporate governance matters. Our real estate attorneys have also advised institutions on construction contract matters.
  • Training employees regarding sexual harassment and discrimination, mandatory reporting obligations, maintaining appropriate student boundaries, and social media responsibilities.
  • Training and counseling board members of single-sex institutions regarding applicable gender-related legal responsibilities and optimal school policies.
  • Providing advice to religious educational institutions regarding exemptions from state and federal mandates.

Contacts

Tara E. Daub

Partner

tdaub@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 516-832-7613

Neal J. McNamara

Partner

nmcnamara@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 401-454-1019

Steven M. Richard

Partner
Leader, Title IX

srichard@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 401-454-1020

Tina Sciocchetti

Partner

tsciocchetti@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 518-427-2677

David A. Vicinanzo

Partner
Practice Group Leader, Government Investigations & White Collar Defense

dvicinanzo@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 617-345-1177

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