Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools

We recognize that leaders in higher education face significant challenges. They include seeking to meet objectives with ever-shrinking budgets, maintaining a positive work environment, managing administrative and business matters, addressing student concerns, ensuring sustainable and green environments, and responding to ever-changing technology.

Venable lawyers understand the broad spectrum of legal issues facing colleges and universities. Our nationally recognized Higher Education Practice attorneys draw on their extensive experience in order to provide cost-effective, practical solutions that are specifically designed for educational settings and consistent with an institution's mission.

We represent academic institutions of all sizes, denominations, and philosophies. Our experience and ability to understand the nuances that are specific to higher education enable us to develop strategies that foster the growth and sustainability of our clients. Committed to providing strategic answers and workable solutions, Venable advocates legal strategies that take into account a school's need to operate its business in a manner sensitive to fiduciary obligations and financial challenges.


  • Successfully represented university and its medical school in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia against claims of national origin discrimination, Title VII retaliation and breach of contract filed by a medical resident dismissed from the residency program, resulting in jury verdict for the defendant university on all claims.
  • Filed a motion to dismiss a significant advertising/marketing class action against New York Law School, alleging, “the cardinal ‘wrong’ alleged is that the ABA’s rules, which are promulgated pursuant to federal law and which plaintiffs readily concede govern every accredited law school in the country do not require detailed post-graduate information.”  On March 21, 2012, our motion to dismiss the amended complaint was granted in full. Among other things, the Court held that the alleged misstatements were not sufficiently material to support a cause of action, and that plaintiffs had not sufficiently pleaded causation and injury.
  • Represented a university in securing zoning approvals for its hospital, health and wellness center, dormitory buildings and parking lot structures. These complex applications were vigorously opposed by local groups, and all were successfully concluded in the university’s favor.
  • Negotiated a Consent Agreement for a university to settle an administrative enforcement action brought by U.S. EPA alleging violations of the hazardous waste laws and regulations. Venable also assisted the university in completing and documenting the performance of a Supplemental Environmental Project.
  • Provided counsel to numerous institutions on a variety of legal issues, including HIPAA, general labor law, ADA compliance and issues surrounding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 
  • Represented a college in favorably resolving claims by a general contractor on the largest and most technologically advanced construction project in the school’s history.
  • Assisted a number of universities in securing federal appropriations support.