Higher Education

Montgomery McCracken has earned a reputation for broad experience in representing institutions of higher learning.

This group includes attorneys from many different practice areas, who have represented large and small public and private schools. With decades of collective experience, our lawyers understand the unique issues institutions of higher learning face, at the administrator, faculty, general counsel and board levels.

In addition to the usual array of litigation services, we are regularly engaged for day-to-day counseling and compliance activities, including training and policy development. When lawsuits do arise, we are poised to handle all types of litigation in federal and state courts and before governmental agencies.

Our full-service Higher Education group regularly counsels institutions on issues including:


Faculty, Student, and Administrative Matters

  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Alcohol and substance abuse and discipline policies
  • Campus safety and security
  • International study
  • Social media
  • Internal investigations


  • Clery, FERPA, HIPAA, Title IV, VII and IX compliance and Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements
  • DOE / OCR investigations
  • Athletics concussion protocol analysis, consultation and litigation
  • Export control
  • Research funding and grant compliance
  • Disabilities issues
  • Charitable solicitation registration

Employment and Labor

  • Discrimination and harassment claims
  • Executive benefits and compensation
  • FMLA
  • Employment counseling and training
  • Policy review and drafting
  • OSHA
  • Downsizing and other termination issues
  • Tenure issues

Corporate, Tax, and Nonprofit

  • Tax exemption
  • Governance
  • Unrelated business income tax
  • Excess benefits and other compensation issues
  • Form 990 reporting
  • Bond offerings and other financing
  • Loan and scholarship policies
  • Charitable contribution planning
  • Investment and endowment policies

Intellectual Property and Information Technology

  • Branding, trademark, patent and copyright
  • IP and cyber law disputes and litigation
  • Policy guidance
  • Faculty rights

Construction, Land Use, Zoning, and Real Estate

  • Reciprocal maintenance, campus operation and access agreements
  • Zoning and land use compliance
  • Lease, license and sale transactions
  • Construction and campus expansion
  • Real estate litigation

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

Colleges and universities are now grappling with an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment as the threat to information privacy and security grows. Balancing student privacy and supporting data collection and use can be challenging for higher education administrators. We work with clients to minimize risk by understanding and complying with all relevant regulations, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other federal student data privacy laws.

Enterprise Risk Management Assessment

Montgomery McCracken offers Enterprise Risk Management Assessment, conducted according to the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) standards.

Educational Programming

We provide a variety of educational programs for higher education clients. Our Higher Education forums address hot topics such as helicopter parenting, lessons from the Freeh Report, alcohol and drug policies, the increased challenges to sales and real estate tax exemptions, risk management and Title IX compliance.

Sports Injury Cases

We represent universities, schools and related personnel in sports injury cases, such as those arising out of alleged premature return-to-play decisions and other negligence theories, including cases involving catastrophically-injured football players who allegedly sustained prior concussions and Second Impact Syndrome. We also advise university and school officials and attorneys, risk managers, athletic trainers and athletic departments, and other health care professionals on institutional liability issues concerning sport-related concussions and other sports injuries, and are involved in developing institutional risk management assessments and programs. (We have represented universities in death and serious personal injury claims not related to athletics.) Some of our clients include LaSalle University, University of Pennsylvania and a number of other universities and schools across the country.

Representative clients

– Cabrini College
– La Salle University
– New York University
– Princeton University
– St. Joseph’s University
– The Curtis Institute of Music
– The Phelps School
– University of Pennsylvania

For More Information

Please contact practice chair John M. Myers at 215-772-7535 or, or vice-chair Catherine H. Gillespie at 215-772-7254 or