- Represented colleges, independent schools, investment banks and commercial banks in tax-exempt commercial financings.
Murtha Cullina’s Education practice offers an interdisciplinary team approach to meet the legal needs of college, universities and independent schools.
Our team has extensive experience representing educational institutions on a wide variety of issues, including matters involving construction, employee benefits, environmental compliance, financing, immigration, intellectual property, litigation and real estate.
Our lawyers are active members in the National Association of College and University Attorneys. We frequently participate in conferences and workshops as presenters on developments in the law. We also have been approved by United Educators to handle cases for its insureds.
Commercial & Tax-Exempt Financing
Construction Contracting & Litigation
- Negotiated and drafted architect, construction manager and contract agreements for colleges and university buildings.
- Represented school in successful negotiations with surety for the completion of a project abandoned during construction.
- Advised college and independent schools on domestic and international student recruiting agreements.
- Prepared affiliation agreements for student placement programs.
- Negotiated contracts for food services and facilities management providers.
- Assisted schools with the design and implementation of Section 403(b) retirement programs and deferred compensation programs and agreements for key executives (including compliance with IRC Sections 409A and 457(f).
- Assisted in tax planning for schools, including converting a school from taxable to tax-exempt status.
- Assisted on issues relating to the unrelated trade or business income tax, intermediate sanction penalties and other excise taxes, private increment and excess benefit prohibitions, and proscriptions on political and legislative activities.
Environmental Compliance & Remediation
- Advised university on environmental issues associated with subsurface contamination in connection with the potential acquisition of a "Brownfield" property in a key location for the campus.
- Provided real-time assistance to private school to mitigate environmental effects from off-site migration of sediment to wetlands and water courses as the results of on-site construction activities.
We provide comprehensive immigration services, handling a full range of immigration matters. We advise clients as to their best options and assist them in preparing all petitions and applications for temporary visas or for permanent residence, including accompanying them to their scheduled immigration interview. Our clients include universities, academic medical centers, research institutions and international students.
We regularly counsel universities and research institutes on a variety of IP-related legal issues. We help our clients with an array of business-focused activities including developing intellectual property strategies, launching websites, raising capital, acquiring and selling technologies and companies, and developing strategic partnerships. We review, prepare and negotiate a wide range of technology, vendor and licensing agreements. We assist our clients in protecting their assets – whether through the procurement and enforcement of IP rights, through various business agreements or utilizing trade secret protection.
Labor & Employment
- Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of one of New England's most prestigious private universities in connection with allegations of gender discrimination and hostile work environment.
- Successfully arbitrated a case including various claims of employee misconduct including fraud, civil theft and breach of employment agreement by executive level employee.
- Defended a Connecticut university in a defamation action arising from serious campus security incident.
- Attained summary judgment on behalf of private educational institution in lawsuit concerning title insurance company's continuing duty to defend against a challenge, which spanned several decades, by a Native American tribe to the very land upon which the school is located.
- Obtained favorable court decision against a contractor for roof failure for a hockey rink constructed on the campus of a private secondary school.
Real Estate Transactions
- Negotiated lease of downtown office space for a college's new School of Pharmacy.
- Managed land use approval process for construction of an independent school's new library and information technology center.
We service the unique and diverse needs of tax-exempt organizations as well as their advisors and donors. Our attorneys have specialized knowledge of tax, corporate, governance, transactional, finance and planned giving issues.
We defend universities in Title IX claims and conduct Title IX investigations.