Client Focus

Independent School Law
Independent Schools
Institutions of Higher Education
Professional Service Providers

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Ohio


  • J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 1985
  • B.A., University of Maryland, 1982


  • National Business Officers Association

    National Association of Independent Schools

    American Bar Association
T +1 202.344.8039
F +1 202.344.8300

Caryn G. Pass


As a partner in Venable's Labor and Employment Group, Caryn Pass represents for-profit and not-for-profit businesses, associations and educational institutions in employment-related disputes and counsels them on strategies and best practices to create positive work environments and limit potential liability exposure. Well versed in employment law, Caryn has advised clients in virtually every facet of employment and labor law including policy development, review and implementation; recruitment and selection of employees; effective hiring procedures; employee relations; wage and hour compliance; counseling and disciplinary actions; family and medical leave act management; performance evaluation and review process; implementation of prevention plans to avoid sexual harassment; investigations resulting from allegations of harassment and termination of the employment relationship; and the defense of wrongful termination claims.

Caryn's particular area of focus is in the representation of independent schools. As an independent school lawyer she assists educational institutions in a wide range of non-employment and employment matters, including teacher and faculty employment contracts, enrollment agreements, student discipline issues, student and faculty handbooks, board governance and by law issues, the safety welfare and discipline of students, as well as the day-to-day challenges facing independent schools today. She works closely with many regional independent school associations to help establish best practices for independent schools.

Caryn bases her practice on the philosophy that effective legal counsel must be consistent with an employer's culture. She works collectively with her clients, joining their team to make certain she is intimately familiar with the client's operation and mission.

Driven by the belief that it is better to help a client avoid a problem in advance than assist in defending a problem that could have been prevented, Caryn focuses on proactive counseling and assuring that policies, procedures and practices are drafted to minimize liability. She has designed training seminars and human resources audits that assist clients in creating positive work environments in compliance with the law as well as the employer's culture and mission.

Consistent with her belief that effective support requires integration into an employer's team, Caryn avails herself to her clients during the work day as well as outside normal business hours. While many employment problems occur during the normal business day, employees are not always willing to be so cooperative.

Representative Clients

Caryn has developed one of the nation’s leading practices in the representation of independent schools nationwide. Her client base includes both small and large schools; parochial and non-parochial schools; well-established schools with large endowments and newly established institutions; highly structured schools and those "without walls"; schools designed for students with learning style differences and those that educate by other methods; city schools, community schools and schools surrounded by miles of corn fields.


Caryn frequently conducts presentations and workshops for regional, national and career-specific associations, as well as for clients that are designed to help faculty, staff and trustees avoid liabilities and maintain compliance with the laws impacting independent schools. 

She regularly presents at the National Association of Independent Schools' annual conference and the National Business Officers Association annual symposium. 

Caryn has presented before many regional independent school associations and works closely with these groups to help establish best practices for independent schools.