From kindergarten to graduate fellowships, we know how schools work.

Some of our lawyers focus on early childhood education and primary school, others on higher education – and some even like junior and high school. What all of them share is a passion for serving the legal needs of educational institutions.


Speaking the language and meeting the legal needs of K-12 schools, colleges, and universities

Schools of all types contend with complex legal and regulatory issues, from teacher and professor tenure and termination to student discipline, students’ rights, and athletics eligibility, not to mention all of the business and administrative issues facing any for-profit, nonprofit, or government organization.

The Spencer Fane Education industry team comprises lawyers from across the firm’s practice areas who understand the unique needs of educational institutions because they have extensive experience working with them. Members of our team bring this knowledge and experience to advise on:

  • Business and finance, including business transactions (faculty contracts, vendor contracts, student agreements, and distance education agreements), operations and finance audits, tax-exempt and taxable financing for operation and capital improvements, financial restructuring, maximizing operational efficiencies and cost savings, and creating new revenue streams that support the institution’s core mission while generating nontraditional income.
  • Labor and employment matters, including faculty tenure and promotion matters, incentive compensation programs, faculty contracts, and assisting institutions in responding to labor-organizing campaigns.
  • Regulatory and administrative compliance, including policy development; preparation and revision of faculty, staff, and student handbooks; and complaint investigations.
  • Athletics, including financing for operations and capital improvements, tax-efficient and creative fundraising incentives, coaches’ and other senior athletic leadership’s contracts, NCAA compliance and athlete eligibility, and college athlete Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights.
  • Intellectual property, including trademarks, patents, software licensing, joint development, and manufacturing agreements.
  • Cybersecurity and data privacy, including legal requirements applicable to an institution’s use, disclosure, and safeguarding of personal information, policies and procedures, contractual terms, training programs, security strategies, support to survive security breaches when they occur, evaluation of cyber insurance policies, development of incident response plans, analysis of breach notification requirements, management of notification obligations, and resolution of regulatory investigations or litigation.