People

Bruce M. Berman

Partner

General Counsel

Berman, Bruce M.

Bruce Berman is General Counsel of WilmerHale. He is a partner in WilmerHale's Litigation/Controversy Department, leads the firm's Education Practice and is a member of the Strategic Response Practice and Regulatory and Government Affairs Department.

Mr. Berman focuses his practice in the areas of education law, educational testing, professional responsibility and legal ethics, and complex litigation.

Educational Law and Litigation

Mr. Berman counsels colleges and universities on Title IX and Clery Act issues as well as a wide range of other regulatory enforcement and litigation matters. He has extensive experience representing higher education institutions in the area of campus sexual misconduct. In that arena he has:

  • helped institutions revise their sexual misconduct policies and procedures to meet evolving regulatory requirements;
  • handled Title IX and Rehabilitation Act investigations by the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and Clery Act investigations by the Office of Federal Student Aid;
  • counseled colleges and universities on their handling of sexual misconduct complaints;
  • defended institutions in lawsuits filed or threatened by complainants and respondents in institutional sexual misconduct grievance proceedings; provided advice in connection with criminal investigations and prosecutions arising from sexual misconduct incidents;
  • counseled on the interplay of Title IX the Clery Act and FERPA;
  • and advised on crisis management and strategic communications. 

Mr. Berman has also helped develop and defend nondiscrimination and protection of minors policies; conducted investigations of alleged faculty misconduct; and advised on university governance issues.

Mr. Berman is one of the most experienced lawyers in the country in the area of standardized educational testing. He has handled numerous cases involving the use of standardized tests in education and employment settings, including copyright infringement litigation, litigation concerning accommodation of test takers with disabilities and False Claims Act cases. He has also represented sponsors and developers of standardized tests in civil and criminal lawsuits relating to test security issues. Among other notable cases, Mr. Berman defended leading companies in the standardized testing industry in nationwide class actions brought by test takers claiming to have lost educational, scholarship and employment opportunities as a result of erroneous test scores.

In a case that drew national and international attention, Mr. Berman successfully represented an Alabama prisoner sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. As a result of the efforts of a team led by Mr. Berman, the Alabama Supreme Court overturned the client's conviction and he was released after 27 years in prison.

Professional Responsibility and Legal Ethics

Mr. Berman has been General Counsel of WilmerHale since 2009. In that capacity he advises WilmerHale partners, counsel and associates, and represents the firm, in professional responsibility and legal ethics matters. Mr. Berman also represents external clients, including lawyers and law firms, in matters involving lawyer regulation, conflicts of interest, standards of care, unauthorized practice, and attorney-client privilege.

Publications & News

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June 16, 2017

OCR Guidance Could Alter Scope of Pending and Future Civil Rights Investigations

A memorandum obtained by ProPublica, if authentic, sets forth substantially revised guidance for civil rights investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The memorandum, addressed to Regional Directors from Candice Jackson, OCR Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, explains that, going forward, “there is no longer a 'one size fits all' approach to investigation of any category of complaints.”

March 11, 2016

Congressional Hearing Examines Free Speech and Tax Constraints on Campus Political Activity

Campuses across the country are wrestling with how free speech, tolerance, diversity and politics mix in a higher education environment. Recently, the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee examined the intersection of an institution's 501(c)(3) status and campus policies that regulate partisan political activity.

November 6, 2015

OCR Finds That Title IX Requires Equal Locker Room Access for Transgender Students

The US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently confirmed that transgender students are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX and found that a public school district violated Title IX by denying a transgender student equal locker room access.

August 12, 2015

Tragic Death Focuses Attention on Campus Police

While the nation’s attention has been focused on incidents involving the use of lethal force by local police—and ensuing racial and community unrest, protest, and violence—recent incidents involving campus police highlight the need for colleges and universities to assess their own security policies and practices.

April 3, 2015

Justice Department Settlement With edX Suggests Heightened Scrutiny of Online Course Accessibility and Potential Strategies for Schools

On April 2, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with edX, a major online college course provider, over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to the accessibility of online courses.

Professional Activities

Mr. Berman previously served on the American Bar Association Litigation Section's Federal Practice Task Force.

Practices

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Education

JD, Yale Law School, 1979

BA, summa cum laude, Williams College, 1976

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

Clerkships

The Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, US District Court for the District of Delaware, 1979 - 1980

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