Education INDUSTRIES

Educational institutions and education-related companies encounter complex and specialized legal issues. Litigation and investigations of education entities and major transactions in which they engage require the experience of those seasoned in the crucible of legal matters with a huge reputational dimension. Educational institutions also have unique practices, procedures, and cultures that influence their responses to all of their challenges.

For-profit educational businesses face their own unique challenges: they encounter all of the issues that any for-profit business faces when contemplating a transaction or litigation while also being subject to the specialized regulations that affect other educational institutions, plus additional regulations or public scrutiny.

WilmerHale’s premier litigation, regulatory, transactional and tax practices not only have the great breadth and depth that educational clients need, but our repeated experience with the highest profile and important matters, in the complex culture of educational institutions and businesses, allows us to see the multiple concerns in the broad range of legal issues they face.

When matters are highly sensitive, and involve legal, political and reputational dimensions, WilmerHale is most often called upon. A great number of our partners have been minute-to-minute advisors on high-stakes transactions, litigation and regulatory negotiations for educational institutions. We understand the constituencies that a university must serve and the broad consultation that necessitates. Our advice in this area is also seasoned by the major non-educational transactions and litigation in which we are involved. Many of these matters have a public dimension that we understand and that require the highest level of legal finesse.

Our lawyers have served in government and have provided counsel on Capitol Hill and within the Executive Branch on education-related matters. In addition, our lawyers have years of experience handling educational issues for a range of leading institutions. Many have counseled major educational companies and major universities for decades, and a number are, or have been, trustees of large and small institutions.

Because of our experience, WilmerHale understands the concerns our non-profit education clients face when choosing outside counsel. They want the work done as efficiently as possible. And, they want it done right, because being right has its own special ethos in academia where "good enough" rarely is.

Examples of our previous engagements include:

  • We represented the University of Michigan in Gratz v. Bollinger in the Supreme Court.
  • We represented Columbia University in its critical eminent domain case in the New York Court of Appeals.
  • We represented Duke University in actions brought by former college athletes.
  • We handled the largest university merger in decades.
  • We provided the corporate structure and navigated the regulatory clearances for the largest transnational research collaboratives involving American universities, as well as establishing several of the largest university research collaboratives in the United States.
  • We represent the largest K-12 instructional materials company in the world, and the world’s largest testing organization in some of the most important legislating, rulemaking and litigation in education.
  • We counsel a major for-profit university in responding to government inquiries and in implementing student aid regulations.

Educational institutions and education-related companies encounter complex and specialized legal issues. Litigation and investigations of education entities and major transactions in which they engage require the experience of those seasoned in the crucible of legal matters with a huge reputational dimension. Educational institutions also have unique practices, procedures, and cultures that influence their responses to all of their challenges.

For-profit educational businesses face their own unique challenges: they encounter all of the issues that any for-profit business faces when contemplating a transaction or litigation while also being subject to the specialized regulations that affect other educational institutions, plus additional regulations or public scrutiny.

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Contacts

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Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick

Chair, Defense, National Security and Government Contracts Practice Group

Co-Chair, Strategic Response Group

+1 202 663 6500 (t)

jamie.gorelick@wilmerhale.com

Berman, Bruce M.

Bruce M. Berman

Partner

+1 202 663 6173 (t)

bruce.berman@wilmerhale.com

Bowker, David W.

David W. Bowker

Partner

+1 202 663 6558 (t)

david.bowker@wilmerhale.com

Boynton, Brian

Brian Boynton

Partner

+1 202 663 6044 (t)

brian.boynton@wilmerhale.com

Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Partner

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@wilmerhale.com

Cohn, Andrew H.

Andrew H. Cohn

Partner

+1 617 526 6218 (t)

andrew.cohn@wilmerhale.com

Curtis, Douglas

Douglas Curtis

Partner

+1 212 230 8802 (t)

douglas.curtis@wilmerhale.com

Fleming, Mark C.

Mark C. Fleming

Partner

+1 617 526 6909 (t)

mark.fleming@wilmerhale.com

Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick

Partner

+1 202 663 6500 (t)

jamie.gorelick@wilmerhale.com

Hurewitz, Barry J.

Barry J. Hurewitz

Partner

+1 202 663 6089 (t)

barry.hurewitz@wilmerhale.com

Experience

Overview

  • Beginning in 1997, when the University of Michigan retained us to defend its affirmative action programs, our team constructed a strategy to demonstrate that institutions of higher learning have a compelling interest in achieving the educational benefits of a racially diverse student body. That strategy succeeded. Relying heavily on the extensive expert case developed by the WilmerHale team at the district court level, the Supreme Court upheld the consideration of race as a factor in admissions to colleges, universities and graduate schools.
  • The firm represented Hamilton College in a case alleging the college’s residential policy violated antitrust laws.
  • The firm has one of the premier practices in the United States representing private and public colleges and universities in a broad range of tax, business, employment and employee benefit matters.
  • The firm has handled many large tax audits and controversies for colleges and universities with the Internal Revenue Service and various State agencies.

Strategic IP Planning and Patent Prosecution

  • Advice to Columbia University on the development of a strategic plan for the commercialization of a collection of patents. We analyzed and classified the technologies for marketing purposes, researched potential markets, identified possible licensees and delivered a comprehensive strategy far beyond the capability of most university technology transfer offices.
  • Patent prosecution for universities including Boston University, Brown University, Columbia University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, Rutgers University, University of Chicago and University of Pittsburgh, and for medical facilities such as the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

IP Litigation

  • On behalf of a major university and its licensee, we prevailed in a patent interference proceeding concerning an active agent in a drug for the treatment of septic shock. The decision was upheld in an appeal before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
  • For American Superconductor, we convinced a US District Court judge to reverse a Patent Office decision in an interference proceeding, and to maintain an important patent in the field of high temperature superconductors our client exclusively licenses from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Licensing, Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances

  • For a nationally preeminent Boston-area research university, we structured a number of innovative international joint venture arrangements to support collaborative research, and facilitated the establishment of complex interdisciplinary research vehicles.
  • We represented the Mexican National Institute for Astronomy, Optics and Electronics in a cross-border joint venture with the University of Massachusetts to construct a state-of-the-art large millimeter radio telescope observatory in Puebla, Mexico.
  • We advised on the formation and structuring of The SNP Consortium, a public-private consortium in which The Wellcome Trust, leading global pharmaceutical and IT companies, and several major research universities in the US and UK collaborated to develop a publicly released map of the human genome based on the discovery and classification of single nucleotide polymorphisms.
  • In addition to our extensive representation of university spin-out companies in the US, we have represented many European university spin-outs from institutions such as the University of Oxford and the University of Southampton.

Government and Regulatory Affairs

  • We have advised both universities and commercial organizations on structuring federal government grants and contracts to maximize their commercialization rights. We are also experienced in grant and contract administration, especially involving cost and proof of genesis of developments.
  • We routinely advise clients on the regulatory constraints surrounding research and product development in fields such as biotechnology, biologics and medical devices, and on the increasingly regulated domain of data privacy.
  • University clients looking to export their technology turn to us for advice on export controls pertaining to the transfer of technical data to overseas parties and the employment of foreign nationals—such as graduate students—in research conducted in the United States.

Other University Experience

  • We successfully settled two high-profile disputes concerning alleged gender discrimination in the denial of tenure at the College of Arts & Sciences and the Law School of an Ivy League university.
  • Yale University turned to us for representation in connection with claims against their insurers for liabilities relating to asbestos and lead, as well as insurance coverage assistance on construction and renovation projects and other matters.
  • We represented Brown University in connection with a prominent Title IX decision that changed the athletic landscape for private universities. We took up Brown’s appeal of whether a university has the right to determine which sports would enjoy varsity status and which would enjoy club status. Our attorneys succeeded in preserving the university’s right to decide, based on the doctrine of academic freedom.
  • Institutions such as Boston University and Northeastern University rely on us for ongoing real estate advice. Our lawyers have extensive experience with university-related real estate transactions, including a complex ground lease and lease back transaction between our client Spaulding & Slye and Johns Hopkins University.

Pro Bono

  • We represented a group of students challenging the process by which the public school system in Mobile, Alabama imposes long-term suspensions. We successfully finalized a far-reaching settlement that provides not only specific relief measures for each individual client, but also will effect a number of system-wide reforms.

Publications & News

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April 25, 2014

WilmerHale Attorneys Recognized in Annual Washington DC Super Lawyers Listing

The annual edition of the Washington DC Super Lawyers magazine, published by The Washington Post Magazine, released its 2014 listing which includes 37 WilmerHale attorneys.

September 26, 2013

Restrictions Governing International Trade in Genetic Resources Move Closer to Adoption

The European Parliament has approved a new Regulation to implement the "Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits from their Utilization" (“Nagoya Protocol” or “Protocol”).

July 16, 2013

Environmental Groups Petition EPA to Regulate Stormwater Discharges

On July 10, 2013, a group of environmental organizations (including American Rivers, Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Natural Resources Defense Council) petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose sweeping stormwater permit requirements on commercial, industrial and institutional sites in EPA Region 1 (New England), 3 (Mid-Atlantic) and 9 (Pacific Southwest).

December 27, 2012

New FTC Rules Tighten Regulation Under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

October 18, 2012

Affordable Care Act Litigation: The Next Round

March 7, 2012

FCC Ruling Secures $7M in Funding for Oakland Unified School District

August 9, 2010

Don’t Gamble ESEA on Teacher Performance

An article by Jay Urwitz, appearing in Education Week, Vol. 29, Issue 37, Pages 32-34.

February 5, 2008

WilmerHale Reflects on a Successful 2007

A Year of Significant Accomplishments

July 16, 2007

International Arbitration Scholar-in-Residence Program

Indications of Interest Invited

April 13, 2007

USCIS Announces Acceptance of Additional H-1B Applications for Review