Unique Expertise
We have a rich history representing schools, colleges and universities, social service agencies, quasi-public institutions, and other entities offering educational services in Massachusetts. Our substantial experience in this area enables us to offer our educational clients expert advice in the full range of compliance, governance, transactional, labor and other relevant legal issues.

Wide-Ranging Client Base
Our educational clients include:

  • Charter schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • HeadStart programs
  • School committees
  • School building authorities
  • Education management organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations affiliated with charter schools
  • Nonprofit private schools
  • Daycare centers
  • Educational foundations
  • Regional school associations
  • Approved Public and Private Day and Residential Special Education Schools (formerly known as Chapter 766 Schools) and other schools for children with disabilities

Organization and Governance
We advise our educational clients regarding:

  • Appropriate legal structures
  • Creation and operation of affiliated nonprofits
  • Public records requests
  • State ethics issues
  • Lobbying laws
  • Fiduciary duties
  • Conducting meetings
  • Board member and employee liability
  • Corporate Articles and Bylaws
  • Executive compensation
  • State ethics issues
  • Conflict of interest and other policies for board members and staff
  • Record retention/document destruction policies

Regulatory and Compliance Matters
We advise our clients regarding compliance with the following statutes and regulations:

  • Massachusetts Charter School Statute, M.G.L. c. 89, § 71
  • Mandated Reporting, M.G.L. c. 119, § 51A
  • Massachusetts Special Education Law, M.G.L. c. 71(b) (formerly M.G.L. c. 766)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 42 USC § 1320d et seq. (HIPAA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Massachusetts Campaign Finance Law, M.G.L. c. 55
  • FERPA, 20 USC § 1232g, and the Massachusetts Student Record Regulations, 603 CMR 23.00
  • Special Education Statutes and Regulations, IDEA, 20 USC § 1400 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC § 701 et seq.
  • Massachusetts Charitable Corporation Statute, M.G.L. c. 180
  • Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 USC § 12101 et seq. (ADA)
  • Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Division of Public Charities, M.G.L. c. 12, § 8 et seq.
  • Massachusetts Open Meetings Law, M.G.L. c. 30A, § 11A
  • U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
  • Massachusetts Conflict of Interest Law, M.G.L. c. 268A
  • Massachusetts Student Discipline Statutes and Regulations, M.G.L. c. 71, s. 37H, 37H½, 37H¾
  • Physical Restraint Regulations, 603 CMR 46.00

Nonprofit and Tax Issues
Our expertise in nonprofit law and tax exemption compliance supports our education practice. We assist our education clients with their tax and nonprofit needs, including:

  • Applications for tax-exempt status
  • Unrelated business taxable income
  • Public support status
  • Reporting obligations
  • Restricted gifts
  • IRS audits
  • Fundraising issues
  • Real estate, sales and use tax compliance and exemptions
  • Tax-exempt financing and IRS audits of financing transactions

Real Estate and Construction
We have a dynamic real estate practice that complements our education practice. Among the services we offer are:

  • Acquisitions and ground leases
  • Development agreements, management agreements, license agreements, and other real estate agreements
  • Space leases
  • Title including easements and restrictions
  • Zoning and permitting including Dover Amendment
  • Contract procurement including Massachusetts Public Construction Statute, M.G.L. c. 149, § 44A and the Uniform Procurement Act, M.G.L. c. 30B
  • Design and construction contracts and litigation regarding disputes
  • Massachusetts Designer Selection Statute, M.G.L. c. 7 § 38

Our finance practice includes all types of financing used by educational institutions — including tax-exempt bond financed transactions and New Markets Tax Credit transactions.Relevant areas include:

  • Tax-exempt bond financing through MassDevelopment
  • Massachusetts and federal historic tax credits
  • New Markets Tax Credits
  • Conventional financing

Labor and Employment
We are a recognized leader in the field of labor and employment law with an outstanding track record in harassment, discrimination, wage and hour, wrongful discharge, non-compete and preservation of intellectual property cases. For our education clients, we provide services in the following:

  • Employment agreements and offer letters
  • Investigation of harassment and discrimination charges
  • CORI and national- and state-based fingerprint information
  • Employee handbooks
  • Tutor/Fellow programs
  • Reasonable accommodation requests
  • Discipline and termination
  • Licensing and staffing requirements
  • Severance agreements
  • Training sessions
  • Union issues
  • Defense of breach of contract claims
  • Education management agreements
  • Compensation issues

Student Affairs
We advise our education clients regarding:

  • Special education for students with disabilities
  • Privacy issues including disclosure of student educational and health records
  • Physical restraint
  • Student searches
  • Training sessions
  • Student discipline
  • Bullying
  • Student sexual harassment
  • Student safety issues, including the potential of actual violence and Tarasoff warnings

Civil Litigation
The firm’s preeminent litigation department assists our education clients in litigating and pursuing other dispute resolution mechanisms relating to permitting and other land use issues, construction issues, lease issues, employment issues, and student affair matters. Our expert litigators also assist our education clients with crisis management.