Financial pressures. Heightened regulatory review and government enforcement. Shifting enrollment patterns and funding sources. The business and legal realities of higher education are in flux. Dynamic change means elevated risks—and potential opportunities—for educational institutions.
Loeb & Loeb’s multidisciplinary Higher Education team works with public and private colleges and universities, and providers of educational products and services to meet the day-to-day challenges of modern education and to prepare, protect and promote our clients’ visions for the future.
Drawn from practices across the firm, our integrated team brings a holistic view of the higher education landscape to help higher education institutions navigate significant changes in the financial, regulatory and political environments. We provide valuable insight and targeted counsel to assist our education clients in the following core areas:
Mergers, Acquisitions and Joint Ventures
Our team has completed more than 75 mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures involving higher education institutions. We understand the governance, operating and regulatory aspects of these transactions, both in normal and financially distressed scenarios. We also have experience using insurance products to help higher education clients successfully address indemnification obligations in mergers, acquisitions and joint venture transactions.
Outsourcing and Private-Public Partnerships
In the present environment of diminished public funding of higher education, lower enrollment and increased scholarship awards, higher education institutions are seeking to decrease operating expenses and develop alternative revenue sources. We have extensive experience structuring and negotiating outsourcing arrangements and joint ventures to address these marketplace realities, including issues related to service-level agreements, ownership of intellectual property, regulatory requirements, privacy and data security, and allocation of risk between parties.
We have represented both universities and providers of capital in debt financing and alternative financing arrangements for a variety of special projects, such as those related to real estate and energy facilities. Our team combines deep regulatory knowledge with significant debt financing capabilities in both real estate and non-real estate scenarios. We also have experience addressing these financing arrangements in state court receiverships and other insolvency situations.
Tax Controversies, Compliance and Governance
Our leading nonprofit and tax-exempt lawyers have the experience and resources to effectively advocate on behalf of our nonprofit education clients in the face of increasing regulatory challenges. With the former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division and the former chief of the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau on our bench, we help our education clients navigate the full range of potential government inquiries, including congressional inquiries, IRS audits and appeals, state attorneys general investigations, and government fiscal and programmatic audits. We also conduct internal investigations to assess compliance with fiduciary duties and allegations of misconduct and potential exposure.
Endowments and Planned Giving
Loeb’s nationally recognized estate planning, nonprofit and tax lawyers advise colleges and universities on all aspects of their charitable and planned giving initiatives, including regulatory, investment management and governance issues, as well as the unique tax considerations impacting nonprofit and exempt educational institutions. We also work with donors making gifts of money, art and other assets to academic institutions to realize their philanthropic goals.
Real Estate and Land Use
Our real estate practitioners have decades of experience helping educational institutions of all sizes develop, build and maintain their facilities. We guide public and private colleges and universities in conceiving and implementing master plans, securing land use entitlements and environmental permitting, managing and executing strategic land use projects, negotiating with state and local agencies and community groups, and handling related litigation. We also counsel on environmental law issues that often arise in large-scale development projects.
Employment, Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits
Loeb & Loeb advises on all sides of negotiations regarding executive compensation and employee benefits. We have extensive experience representing college and university trustees (collectively and individually) as well as presidents and provosts in employment- and compensation-related matters, giving us a well-rounded view of these critical issues. We also help in-house general counsel, financial officers, HR directors and board compensation committees in designing and documenting employment agreements, incentive and performance plans, and retirement and deferred compensation plans, as well as executive life, disability and long-term care insurance coverage and other fringe benefits.
Intellectual property is a critical asset to today’s colleges and universities. Our IP lawyers work with higher education clients to define, protect, promote and monetize their research and innovations through strategic patent prosecution and counseling, and enforcement of patents, trademarks and copyrights. We guide clients in structuring, preparing and negotiating agreements for a variety of intellectual property and technology-centered agreements, including licensing, technology transfer, complex partnering, strategic alliance and joint development transactions.