Rising Stars

Education in United States

Choate, Hall & Stewart

Choate, Hall & Stewart’s Boston-based team showcases particular strength in advising research universities and medical centers on compliance risks associated with international research collaborations, economic and academic espionage. Co-practice head and compliance expert Christine Savage is highly esteemed for her foreign influence expertise. With a separate complex trial and appellate litigation team, co-chaired by joint practice head Joan Lukey and including Justin Wolosz, the group boasts particular strength in consumer class action as well as complex high-stakes litigation and is adept to represent colleges, universities and academic medical centers in internal investigations and government investigations, including investigations pertaining to alleged sexual misconduct, Title IX and fraud. Lyndsey Kruzer and Alison Reif, chair of the firm’s labor and employment group, advise on all aspects of employee relations. Senior associate Mark McPherson has a dedicated foreign influence practice and handles educational matters involving healthcare fraud, securities fraud, and the False Claims Act.

Practice head(s):

Christine Savage; Joan Lukey; Alison Reif

Other key lawyers:

Mark McPherson

Key clients

Harvard University

Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE)

Tufts University

Dartmouth College

Work highlights

  • Representing the President and Fellows of Harvard College along with their former Executive Vice President in a lawsuit brought by Prof. Charles Lieber seeking advancement and indemnification for his legal fees and expenses related to criminal charges involving his undisclosed financial relationships with a Chinese university.
  • Settled a civil lawsuit filed against Tufts University School of Medicine raising questions about whether curricula or educational program design constitutes proprietary intellectual property and the boundaries of collaborations between for-profit education ventures and traditional academic institutions.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s Washington DC-based team frequently acts as lead counsel for universities, medical colleges and education councils in high-profile investigations, litigation and regulatory compliance matters. Global education head Stephanie Gold, who co-leads the team, guides clients through mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, overseas activities, and institutional reorganizations while also covering foreign influence and Title IX matters. Co-head William Ferreira, who leads the firm’s global public procurement practice, represents universities and academic medical centers across a range of sensitive matters and online education programs. He also advises on government funding matters including research integrity, research misconduct, conflicts of interest, foreign influence, human subjects, and False Claims Act enforcement. Counsel Joel Buckman is an integral part of the team representing a broad range of education institutions and associations, with a focus on regulatory compliance assisting clients navigate rules and procedures related to accreditation, and education licensure. Senior associate Megan Wilson assists in compliance matters with federal, state, and industry-specific requirements.

Practice head(s):

Stephanie Gold; William Ferreira

Other key lawyers:

Joel Buckman; Megan Wilson; Adilene Rosales


‘We have been working with Hogan Lovells Education Practice Team (EPT) for some time and appreciate their capacities comparing to other global firms as they have a very good knowledge of the market and understand the local problems. William Ferreira has shown impressive technical skills and has been a real pleasure to work with.’

‘William (Bill) Ferreira as partner and Adilene Rosales as associate have been working in Mozambique for a long time mainly with American organizations and have demonstrated over the years to be a very good support interacting on both jurisdictions and legislation. They have also travelled to Mozambique to understand the matters and assist locally which is very comfortable for clients.’

‘William Ferreira – A sharp lawyer, with an excellent technical skill set, commercial acumen, sound industry knowledge and problem-solving approach.’

‘We could not ask for a better legal partner than Hogan Lovells. Everything about the firm and our experience with them has been top notch. They have a truly global reach that allows them to be a one-stop shop for us. They are always readily available to answer any queries we may have.’

‘William Ferreira, partner at Hogan Lovells, has been our primary contact. He is very communicative and always makes an effort to preemptively advise us of pending changes that may warrant additional analysis. I wouldn’t recommend working with anyone else!’

Key clients

Carnegie Mellon University

American Council on Education

Arizona State University

Mills College at Northeastern University

National University System

Penn Foster, Inc.

Yale University

New York University

Vanderbilt University

Lifepoint Health

University of Louisville

Work highlights

  • Representing Yale University in an antitrust class action filed against 17 universities, where plaintiffs are seeking to represent a class of undergraduate students who received financial aid but also paid some portion of tuition, room and board not fully covered by financial aid.
  • Successfully represented the University of Louisville against allegations by the NCAA’s enforcement arm that threatened severe sanctions against the Louisville men’s basketball program for alleged violations of NCAA rules.
  • Advising Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) across a wide range of education policy matters and controversies in the education industry, in particular, federal government funding to institutions, especially for scientific research.

Husch Blackwell LLP

Predominantly based in Kansas City, Husch Blackwell LLP’s coast-to-coast team offers a strong regulatory and compliance focus, servicing all facets of the industry, including public institutions, state university systems, private institutions, specialty, religious, and for-profit institutions, specialized accrediting agencies, and K-12 school districts. The group has an active pro-bono practice advising prominent black institutions on additional federal funding. With deep experience in education, Hayley Hanson co-heads the practice with particular expertise in handling sensitive high-profile reviews investigations on sexual assault and racial discrimination in higher education institutions as well as Title IV Federal Student Aid matters. Co-head Sean Tassi assists public and private education institutions in transactions and regulatory compliance matters alongside general advising. Litigator Derek Teeter represents colleges and universities in complex disputes, with a specialty in sexual misconduct, religious liberty and freedom of speech issues. In Chicago, Lisa Parker has a strong regulatory practice, advising both small private institutions and publicly-traded schools on financial aid and charitable contributions, and Julie Miceli, the former deputy general counsel for higher education and federal student aid at the U.S. Department of Education, advises institutions on issues related to campus safety, including Title IX, the Clery Act, serving minors and emergency planning and response. Austin-based Scott Schneider is a key contact for employment matters and institutional misconduct.

Practice head(s):

Hayley Hanson; Sean Tassi

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Parker; Julie Miceli; Scott Schneider; Jason Montgomery; Michael Raupp; Derek Teeter


‘The HB team has a broad range of experience handling education regulatory and policy issues. The group is responsive and highly collaborative.’

‘Lisa Parker’s work stands out as a relationship partner. She is always responsive and hard working.’

Key clients

Chicago State

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Indiana State University

MidAmerica Nazarene University

Johns Hopkins University

Northwestern University

Northwest Missouri State University

St. Louis University

Texas A&M University

United Educators

University of Illinois

University of Tulsa

Wichita State University

William Jewell College


WilmerHale’s higher education-focused team has garnered a solid market reputation as the go-to firm for sensitive high-stakes litigation guiding colleges and universities through governmental investigations, congressional inquiries, and confronting contentious policy issues. The group frequently defends their clients’ intellectual property, handles major transactions and assists in handling accreditation, antitrust, art and antiquities, cybersecurity, free speech, and employee misconduct matters. Based in Washington DC, the group, jointly headed by educational law expert Bruce Berman, who is one of the most experienced attorneys in standardized educational testing, and esteemed litigator Jamie Gorelick, has expertise handling Title IX, Title VI, and other federal anti-discrimination statues for educational institutions. Alan Schoenfeld has extensive appellate litigation expertise and handles complex class actions out of the New York office. Other members of the team, including Seth Waxman and New York-based Debo Adegbile who leads the firm’s anti-discrimination practice alongside Brenda Lee, are acting for Harvard University in a Supreme Court affirmative action case concerning their admissions program. The group also counts advising on financial aid, federal grants, and on issues related to the misuse of research funds among its specialisms. Preet Bharara joined from the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York in June and in September 2022, Lauren Moore joined the group prior to being Associate Counsel for The White House.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Berman; Jamie Gorelick

Other key lawyers:

Debo P. Adegbile; Alan Schoenfeld; Seth Waxman; Brenda Lee; Preet Bharaha; Lauren Moore


‘The team is always comprised of top-level talent who understand the business desires that in-house legal teams have to manage when delivering our legal advice.’


Led by Michael Vernick, based in Washington DC, the education practice at Akin regularly handles highly sensitive and complex matters involving policy issues, high-stakes internal investigations and litigation, as well as concerns related to sponsored research, education policy, Title IX obligations, and Title IV issues. The group is also active in cyber security and data issues, while Vernick has a strong reputation for handling clinical trials and foreign influence matters. Litigation specialist Anthony Pierce focuses his practice on large class actions, high-level employment law matters and investigations in the athletics sector. In New York, Estela Diaz handles investigations in relation to misconduct and is a credited Title IX investigator. Working closely with Vernick, DC-based counsel Marta Thompson has extensive experience representing institutes of higher education and academic medical centers in the regulatory and litigation space, including representing research institutions in False Claims Act investigations.

Practice head(s):

Michael Vernick

Other key lawyers:

Estela Diaz; Anthony Pierce; Marta Thompson

Key clients

Tulane University

Rice University

Southern Methodist University

American Film Institute

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center

Work highlights

  • Represented Southern Methodist University and Tulane University in class-action litigations in federal courts in Texas and Louisiana, respectively, against putative classes of students seeking tuition and fee refunds due a shift to remote learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Represented American Film Institute in a class action filed by a former volunteer that challenged nonprofit organizations’ ability to accept help from unpaid volunteers.
  • Assisting multiple preeminent research universities on all aspects of investigations and enforcement actions related to concerns regarding foreign influence over US government sponsored research, including internal investigations, responding to grand jury subpoenas, preparing voluntary disclosures to the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Defense, among others.

Duane Morris LLP

Duane Morris LLP‘s education team is predominantly based out of San Diego, representing colleges and universities, propretiary colleges and vocational schools, alongside pre-K through 12 institutions, and edtech companies. The group provides advice concerning compliance with federal, state and accrediting body regulations and standards applicable to postsecondary institutions and is headed by a core team of four comprised of Anthony Guida, who focuses on pre-K-12, postsecondary, edtech and corporate training education, Katherine Brodie, who is based in Washington DC, and provides litigation and counseling services in Title IV, Title IX, and other regulatory work, alongside Edward Cramp, who represents universities in litigation and transactional matters, and Chicago-based Lisa Scruggs, who is a key contact in the K-12 space, working with school districts and education non-profits on policy and reform. Kristina Gill was promoted to partner in 2023, focusing on issues related to federal and state higher education law from both a policy and regulatory compliance perspective. Jennifer DeMay joined as special counsel from Unitek Learning in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Guida; Katherine Brodie; Edward Cramp; Lisa Scruggs

Other key lawyers:

Kristina Gill; Jessica High; Jonathan Helwink


‘Duane Morris has provided exceptional service in all legal matters faced by our charter school. They have the depth and breadth of expertise we need for the myriad of complex issues we face on a daily basis. They are responsive and solutions oriented and can get the transaction closed.’

‘Lisa Scruggs is the most knowledgeable education attorney in the State of Illinois. She worked previously with the IL State Board of Education and the Chicago Board of Education. She is always accessible and she knows when to compromise and when to be combative. Her greatest attribute is that she listens and understands what you are trying to accomplish and crafts a legal solution to meet your needs.’

Key clients

Avesi Partners

Spartan Education Group

General Atlantic


Konrad Group

Goddard Systems

Association of Proprietary Colleges

Tae Jae University

LIM College

Monroe College

American Association of Cosmetology School

Aveda Institute Coalition


Rocketship Schools

FEV Tutor

LEARN Charter School Network

Amplify Education

Fusion Education Group

Swing Education

Work highlights

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland has an active practice representing educational institutions and officials in complex matters ranging from school funding and adequacy litigation to voting rights and desegregation cases at the state and local level across the country. The group is also active on Covid-related disputes and claims for reimbursement of college tuition fees and debt forgiveness matters. Practice head Rocco Testani, who is based in Atlanta and co-heads the global litigation group, has particular expertise acting in high-profile public policy and governmental disputes as well as in school finance matters, with an active practice in state K-12 school tax and funding issues. With long-standing experience devoted to regulatory work in postsecondary education, Washington DC’s Stanley Freeman is particularly adept in advising colleges and universities on administrative, transactional, regulatory and litigation matters. Atlanta-based counsel Benjamin Reed focuses his practice on advising postsecondary educational institutions on compliance matters arising out of federal and state accrediting agency oversight and regulation.

Practice head(s):

Rocco Testani

Other key lawyers:

Stanley Freeman; Benjamin Reed


Goodwin’s Boston-based multidisciplinary higher education practice acts for leading schools and colleges on corporate governance, transactional work, tax, investment management, real estate, IP, and employment matters. The group has particular strength in providing employment advice on issues including disability discrimination, leave of absence rights, sexual harassment, employee classifications, tenure-related issues, and labor relations matters. The team is noted for its strong litigation, whistleblower protection and internal investigations capabilities and includes key names such as Jennifer Chunias who frequently represents clients before federal and state regulators, with great experience handling government and internal investigations, shareholder demands and litigation, and complex commercial disputes. Susan Abbott focuses her practice on tax-exempt organizations, probate and trust law, and estate planning, with a particular emphasis on charitable planning, also advising colleges and universities regarding planned gifts, gift acceptance, charitable gifts, and sponsored research matters. Yvonne Chan and Roberto Braceras left the firm in March 2022 to Jones Day and Fidelity Investments, respectively.

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Chunia; Susan Abbott; Bruce Tribush

Key clients


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

OutSchool, Inc.

Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District

Simmons University

The Center for Reimagining Learning (f/k/a edX Inc.)

University of Pittsburgh-of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education

Wellesley College

Williams College

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Work highlights

  • Advised edX in its $800 million sale to 2U Inc.
  • Representing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) in a purported whistleblower suit filed by Chi-Sang Poon, a former MIT research scientist, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP’s diverse group represents educational institutions in most notably, gender-based misconduct, employment, student misconduct as well as athletics-related Title IX matters. The team has an active investigation practice, assisting education institutions with sensitive internal investigations into allegations of discrimination and gender-based misconduct, and has recently been at the forefront of the first wave of COVID-related tuition refund litigation filed against colleges and universities across the country. Litigator Roberta Kaplan leads the group from New York and handles high-stakes litigation across Title IX matters. Also based in New York, Gabrielle Tenzer acts in gender-based misconduct cases representing the likes of Brown and Columbia University. Joshua Matz supports the group out of the Washington DC office, particularly active in defamation disputes and sex discrimination matters.

Practice head(s):

Roberta Kaplan

Other key lawyers:

Gabrielle Tenzer; Joshua Matz

Key clients

Brown University

Columbia University

National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA)

34 Black Law School Professors

Seven Virginia School Boards

Work highlights

  • Represented Brown University in expedited litigation brought by plaintiffs alleging violations of a 1998 agreement that requires Brown to satisfy certain gender proportionality requirements in its varsity athletics programs.
  • Retained by the NCAA to conduct an independent investigation into gender equity issues in connection with the association, focusing on NCAA championships.
  • Represented Columbia University in a putative class-action lawsuit filed in April 2020, demanding millions of dollars in tuition and fee refunds in response to Columbia moving its classes online in the Spring 2020 semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP’s higher education practice group has extensive experience advising clients, most notably healthcare and academic medical centers on government matters, internal investigations, corporate finance and investments, data privacy and security matters, and litigation. Chicago office managing partner Zachary Fardon represents companies and individuals in a broad range of sensitive white-collar defense and investigations matters including whistle-blower litigation. Atlanta-based trial lawyer Andy Bayman co-heads the group with Fardon and represents pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, retailers, automotive manufacturers and other major companies in complex and novel product liability and toxic tort cases. Adam Robison has a particular focus in advising clients on False Claims Act and Civil Monetary Penalty investigations, fraud and abuse, along with anti-kickback and physician self-referral issues, including physician contracting. Matthew Nichols departed in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Zach Fardon; Andy Bayman

Other key lawyers:

Adam Robison

Key clients

Emory University

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Medical University Hospital Authority

Vanderbilt University

Work highlights

  • Representing Emory University in consolidated COVID-19 tuition-refund class action litigation.
  • Represented The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in renegotiation of its long-term multi-billion dollar affiliation agreement with Harris County Hospital District.

McGuireWoods LLP

McGuireWoods LLP provides full-service advice encompassing litigation, investigation and advisory work in all aspects of education law for K-12 schools, public and private colleges, universities and academic medical centers. The team routinely represents colleges and universities in government investigations before federal agencies and represents them in high-stakes litigation, often concerning allegations of sexual assault and harassment. Another strength of the team includes advice on Title IV eligibility and compliance as well as advice on civil rights lawsuits including discrimination and disability claims. Harrison Marshall jointly leads the team out of North Carolina with Washington DC-based litigator Farnaz Thompson, who previously worked at the U.S Department of Education. The group is complemented by Virginia-based tax expert Michele McKinnon who advises non-profit and tax-exempt organizations on federal tax and governance matters, while Atlanta-based Shelby Guilbert represents higher education institutions in insurance recovery actions.

Practice head(s):

Harrison Marshall; Farnaz Farkish Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Michele McKinnon; Shelby Guilbert


‘Highly talented team, dedicated to client service and focused on what makes us unique and how to capture that for risk protection and compliance. Very responsive to questions and requests; I never am made to feel that I am anything but a very special client.’


Key clients

Stanford University

University of Southern California

Norfolk State University

The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)

University of Virginia

Washington & Lee University

Davidson College

Central Piedmont Community College

Liberty University

Appalachian State University

The Pennsylvania State University

Episcopal High School

Lake Norman Charter School

Work highlights

  • Won summary judgment in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia, on behalf of seven charter school plaintiffs against the DeKalb County School District.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP‘s comprehensive practice is based out of Washington DC and Atlanta and acts for public and private colleges, universities, K-12 schools, academic medical centers in complex litigation and transactional matters. The firm’s affiliate consulting group EducationCounsel LLC which centers on innovation and systemic reforms acts for non-profit clients and academic institutions in policy matters. The team frequently advises education boards and colleges on gender and sexual misconduct issues, including gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment. The group is jointly managed by Atlanta’s Marquetta Bryan, who litigates for schools in discrimination matters as well as DC’s Scott Palmer, who is actively involved in reforms in the K-12 space. Associate Alexis Trumble is a name to note. Former co-head Daniel Cohen has now left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Scott Palmer; Marquetta Bryan

Other key lawyers:

Alexis Trumble


Solid knowledge of university athletics and related issues, including staffing related matters with a diverse group of associates — several of whom are former student athletes.

Key clients

Clemson University

Ohio State University

University of Georgia

University of Iowa

University of Miami

University of Southern California

Vanderbilt University

University of Missouri

University of Nebraska

University of South Carolina

Mississippi State University

East Carolina University

Eastern Michigan University

North Dakota University System

Lee University

Work highlights

  • Assisting colleges and universities, including the University of Georgia, with the implementation of new (and rapidly evolving) name, image and likeness (NIL) rules.
  • Representing the University of North Dakota in federal class action litigation alleging gender discrimination within its athletics department, as well as proactively improving gender equity.
  • Representing the University of South Carolina in class action litigation filed by students seeking reimbursement of tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester on the basis that COVID-19 regulations diminished learning opportunities.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright’s multipractice group has particular expertise in the field of medical education, acting for leading academic medical centers and teaching hospitals. Head of the healthcare group Stacey Murphy leads the education team out of St. Louis and advises teaching institutions on regulatory matters, compliance with accreditation standards and challenges adverse determinations. New York-based Douglas Fried co-heads the team as well as the infrastructure group and advises universities on P3 projects. Healthcare transactional and regulatory attorney Andrew Roth heads the New York health law practice, advising health industry clients on a wide range of matters from high-value transactions to notable graduate medical education and medical school accreditation matters. Austin-based Gina Shishima is a key contact in all aspects of patent law, particularly prosecution, post-grant challenges, litigation and due diligence. Donna Clark and Susan Feigin Harris are also key names, working out of Houston.

Practice head(s):

Stacey Murphy; Douglas Fried

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Roth, Gina Shishima; Donna Clark; Susan Feigin Harris

Key clients

Texas A&M University 12th Man Foundation

Work highlights

  • Represented Texas A&M University 12th Man Foundation in class action lawsuit filed by a group of donors alleging the new seating arrangements, caused by construction of a new football stadium, breached prior agreements with “endowed donors”.