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College & University

Hodgson Russ advises colleges and universities ranging from large public and private universities to four-year and community colleges and all types of related entities on the full range of their legal matters.

Our college and university team is multidisciplinary in nature, involving attorneys who regularly counsel higher-education providers on matters involving capital projects; tax and corporate matters; immigration; intellectual property; labor and employment; and litigation, including employment litigation, among numerous other areas. Our higher-education team has a broad and deep understanding of the special and complex nature of issues faced by colleges and universities. Many of these attorneys serve or have served on the boards of directors of universities and colleges and their foundations.

Some of the areas in which we have extensive experience serving colleges and universities include:

Capital Projects

In response to increased enrollment and heightened expectations of today's college students, recent years have seen unprecedented capital development by and for colleges and universities. While these projects are beneficial, they also present many challenging legal issues. In addition to the concerns normally associated with any commercial real estate development project, because colleges and universities and their affiliated entities are generally organized as federally tax exempt, nonprofit, or educational corporations, these types of projects often require very specialized legal disciplines. In recognition of these unique challenges, Hodgson Russ attorneys regularly counsel higher-education clients and their affiliated for-profit and nonprofit corporations and limited liability companies on capital development.

Corporate and Tax Issues

The corporate and tax laws affecting colleges and universities are evolving dramatically. For example, Congress and the IRS recently increased their interest in the activities of higher-education institutions, focusing on such issues as endowment fund management and compensation. Hodgson Russ has extensive experience working with colleges and universities, their foundations, and related organizations on these types of issues and is well situated to assist them with both the challenges and opportunities presented by the legal framework within which they operate.


The immigration attorneys at Hodgson Russ have extensive experience assisting colleges, universities, and related entities with their immigration needs. Our attorneys are skilled in handling a broad range of immigration issues for higher-education institutions, and this experience is enhanced by our regular interactions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ four regional service centers, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and with U.S. Consular offices around the world, giving us great familiarity with each agency’s practices and procedures.

Intellectual Property

The intellectual property attorneys who are part of Hodgson Russ’s colleges and universities team devote their practice to the protection and enforcement of all forms of intellectual property rights under patent, trademark, copyright, unfair competition, and trade secret laws. Many Hodgson Russ intellectual property attorneys have advanced degrees in engineering and the physical and biological sciences in addition to law degrees. Additionally, some of our attorneys have worked in a university technology transfer office, which gives our attorneys an unusual degree of understanding of academic institutions’ requirements and objectives.

Labor and Employment

Hodgson Russ’s labor and employment attorneys have extensive experience counseling public and private colleges and universities and their related entities, including union and non-union institutions, in matters involving a wide range of labor and employment laws. We focus on preventive steps first since avoidance of litigation and human resource problems is the most efficient method of minimizing the risk of costly employment disputes. However, should a dispute occur, Hodgson Russ attorneys are well prepared to assist clients in resolving disputes with current and former employees and the unions that represent them.


When Hodgson Russ’s college and university clients become involved in legal disputes, the number one priority of our litigation team is to protect their legal rights and interests. Our attorneys manage each case as both a legal and operational problem and always aim to resolve every matter in a way that best benefits the institution. The depth of our litigation and trial experience and the breadth of our practice capabilities are extensive. These assets, teamed with the innovative solutions that are a hallmark of Hodgson Russ, provide our higher-education clients with a competitive edge in resolving disputes.

Other services we provide to colleges and universities include:

  • Acquisitions and financings of student housing
  • Acquisitions of property
  • Administrative matters
  • Arbitrations and general labor matters
  • Bond financings
  • Charitable trusts
  • Contract negotiations
  • Corporate restructurings
  • Domain name disputes
  • Dormitory projects
  • Employee benefits matters
  • Employee relations matters
  • Endowment fund matters
  • Environmental matters
  • Federal employment tax audits
  • Fraternity and sorority matters
  • General corporate matters
  • Gifts of property
  • Gifts of real estate
  • Health law matters
  • Incorporations
  • Joint ventures
  • LLC formations
  • Naming rights
  • Patent matters
  • Pension matters
  • Real estate matters
  • Real property matters
  • Refinancings
  • Retirement plans
  • Tax matters
  • TSA programs
  • Unemployment insurance audits
  • Vendor contracts