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In The News

Ernie Allen, Former President & CEO of The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Headlines Phillips Lytle’s Campus Accountability Summit  More

Ernie Allen, Former President International Center for Missing & Exploited Children and Amanda L. Lowe, Associate Attorney at Phillips Lytle LLP Comment on Applying Policy and Procedures for Campus Sexual Assaults  More

Ernie Allen, Founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Featured as Keynote Speaker at Phillips Lytle’s Campus Accountability Summit  More

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Press Releases

Fifty-One Phillips Lytle LLP Attorneys Named to the 2014 Upstate New York Super Lawyers® List  More

Bak USA LLC To Set Up Shop in Buffalo, Becoming One of the First U.S. Assemblers of Electronic PC Tablets  More

Richard J. Marinaccio Spoke to Students at State University of New York at Geneseo  More

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“Higher Education: New Reporting Requirement for the Campus Safety Act,” Phillips Lytle Education Client Alert, January 2015  More

By the Book - March 2014  More

By the Book - August 2013  More

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At Phillips Lytle, our growing Education Practice has provided successful representation to numerous higher education institutions. Our team is comprised of attorneys from various practice areas including Corporate, Civil Litigation, Employee Benefits, Environmental, Intellectual Property, Labor & Employment, Project Development, Real Estate and Public Finance. This enables our attorneys to serve clients’ needs that are unique to the educational field, and on general legal issues. Several of the attorneys from our Education Team have been continuously listed in The Best Lawyers in America.©

Phillips Lytle has counseled and represented colleges and universities in a variety of matters, including:

  • School financing and bond issues
  • Contract negotiations, administrative proceedings, arbitrations and labor relations
  • Superintendent contracts
  • Construction/commercial real estate/zoning
  • Environmental law issues
  • Retirement plan design, operation and compliance
  • Employee welfare benefits
  • Representation and consultation involving teaching staff issues
  • Representation and consultation involving governance issues
  • Research and technology transfer
  • Intellectual property
  • HIPAA and similar privacy and security
  • Faculty tenure
  • Student discipline
  • Budget issues
  • Federal and state civil rights and anti-discrimination laws
  • Disciplinary proceedings and terminations of non-instructional employees
  • Appellate proceedings and general litigation matters
  • School elections
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Constitutional issues such as Due Process and the First Amendment
  • Governmental entities suits, general liability matters and post-judgment proceedings

Specific examples of our education institution experience by practice area include: 


  • Drafting bylaws for both colleges and universities
  • Advising colleges and universities on fundraising initiatives that could impact their tax-exempt status
  • Providing counsel with respect to faculty and student issues
  • Representing a university as special counsel for governance issues in connection with a merger
  • Representing a university in connection with an investment in a newly-organized venture capital fund focusing on high technology start-up companies
  • Providing a college with general counsel services with respect to corporate matters, faculty matters, employee issues and student concerns
  • Representing a university in general counsel work that includes reviewing and revising contracts with respect to the college and third-party providers (e.g., vendors and industry partners)
  • Being involved in a number of estates whereby a college or university is named as a beneficiary. These matters can range from anything as simple as reviewing the accounting that has been provided to the college to approve, or representing the school to expedite an accounting that may not be progressing quickly enough.
  • Representing colleges and a university in matters involving the estates of individuals who had an international residence
  • Representing educational institutions in connection with acquisitions of other institutions
  • Counseling directors and officers on minimizing potential liability exposure, including review and assessment of directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, and preparation of indemnification bylaws and indemnification agreements
  • Working with boards and management in the preparation and implementation of legal compliance programs and codes of ethics

Labor & Employment

  • Providing counsel with respect to faculty and student issues
  • Representing colleges and universities in numerous federal court actions, including Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA and FLSA litigations
  • Representing colleges and universities, including a large research university with five bargaining units, in numerous labor matters, including labor arbitrations, collective bargaining negotiations, contract administration, NLRB proceedings, and LMRA litigations
  • Representing and advising colleges and universities in wage and hour matters, including U.S. Department of Labor proceedings and compliance with FLSA and New York State wage and hour law
  • Representing and advising on OSHA proceedings and compliance
  • Drafting faculty and staff handbooks and policies and procedures
  • Representing colleges regarding tenured faculty terminations or discipline
  • Advising and representing colleges and universities in matters involving ADA and the Federal Rehabilitation Act compliance
  • Representing a faculty/student association at a university in negotiations, and providing general advice
  • Representing a college in a Department of Education proceeding that alleged disbursement of federal student loans for a program not approved by the USDOE

Employee Benefits

  • Representing private colleges and universities and private primary and secondary schools in updating tax-deferred annuity/403(b) plans and arrangements to comply with new Internal Revenue Service regulations and requirements
  • Working with a school district to adopt and revise privacy policies and procedures to comply with HIPAA and other federal and New York State privacy laws and regulations
  • Representing a university in establishing deferred compensation arrangements which comply with Internal Revenue Code and ERISA requirements
  • Advising private colleges and universities and private primary and secondary schools about employee health and welfare benefit plan design changes and operational compliance issues

Litigation and Administrative Proceedings

  • Representing school districts in connection with negotiations and federal court proceedings relating to disputes with school superintendents
  • Representing a school district in connection with grievances and state court proceedings concerning union contracts with teachers
  • Representing a college in connection with administrative proceedings brought by the Department of Health concerning the availability or adequacy of medical emergency equipment
  • Representing a college in state court proceedings with a faculty association concerning college governance issues
  • Conducting a complex investigation for an urban school district and providing recommendations for reform of the student discipline process


  • Representing educational institutions with regard to environmental due diligence associated with real property acquisition
  • Representing educational institutions with regard to environmental compliance audits and environmental compliance programs
  • Representing a local college in the relicensing of the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Project
  • Representing a school district in connection with an energy cogeneration project

Intellectual Property

  • Representing research universities and institutions with respect to a broad range of intellectual property issues, including preparing, filing and prosecuting domestic and foreign patent applications in multiple technical disciplines
  • Representing research universities and institutions with respect to negotiating and drafting a wide range of licensing and technology transfer agreements including research agreements, option agreements, license agreements, confidentiality agreements and material transfer agreements. The subject matter of these agreements has included all types of intellectual property including patents, trade secrets and copyrights.
  • Regularly counseling clients with respect to patent scope and associated design issues and rendering non-infringement opinions, and conducting freedom to operate studies
  • Representing a technology incubator program at a university with respect to trademarks, service marks and copyrights

Project Development

  • Preparing forms and leases for construction projects involving colleges and universities
  • Using a Formalized Consensus Process in conjunction with a development project to ensure our educational client’s needs were met and the concerns of community opponents were addressed
  • Working with many educational clients on campus improvement and/or expansion projects involving zoning and land use permitting, historical consultation with SHPO, environmental permitting and environmental impact reviews pursuant to SEQRA
  • Creating transactional tenant lease documents for a university that relate to an incubator project that includes building a $4.7 million high-tech facility to support 10-15 startup companies in need of a high-technology infrastructure
  • Working with local developers who build to suit for educational institutions
  • Working with contractors who have obtained university and/or secondary school construction projects through the public bidding process


  • Representing a city in Downstate New York in the acquisition of a parcel from a school board which was subsequently leased to a private school
  • Representing an independent Downstate New York university in a tax-exempt bond offering
  • Representing an education/retirement service organization in a tax-exempt bond transaction
  • Representing an IDA with respect to the issuance of $7.5 million tax-exempt bonds for a college
  • Representing a Downstate New York IDA with respect to the issuance of  $24 million tax-exempt bonds for a private high school
  • Representing a private Upstate New York college in an $11.5 million tax-exempt bond transaction
  • Representing colleges in connection with New York State Higher Education Capital Matching Grants
  • Representing a financial institution in the financing or credit enhancement of several taxable and tax-exempt financings for a private college and a public university in connection with student housing and other projects
  • Representing a private college in several Dormitory Authority of the State of New York tax-exempt bond financings to construct and equip student housing