Colleges and schools retain Pierce Atwood because we find solutions to their legal challenges. We can handle anything that ends up on your desk – governance issues, employment matters, dealing with government regulators, real estate acquisitions and land use and environmental permitting, campus development and construction, protecting of your intellectual property, tax-exempt financing, fundraising and institutional development, immigration, and all manner of compliance issues. We handle your legal needs with very lean staffing in whatever area of law you encounter, and with a winning attitude and a proven track record that will get you where you want to go.

Please contact Suzanne King or Jim Erwin, or visit our Education practice group page for more information about our work in the education industry.

Representative Experience

We serve as outside general counsel to Bates College, providing advice to the Board of Trustees and Administration on issues relating to risk, Title IX compliance, student discipline, student accommodations, other academic and student affairs matters, employment, immigration, intellectual property, and other matters. We have also advised Bates on construction-related matters including contract review and resolution of claims.

Bates College Outside General Counsel

We are advising Cornell University, a private New York educational institution, on a number of solar PV and geothermal power projects it is installing in New York, as well as on general energy and policy matters affecting its energy sustainability program. Cornell is the largest energy user in New York State.  Cornell is also a founding member of the Coalition of Renewable Energy Users and Developers (CORE), an ad hoc group of New York renewable energy users and developers.

Cornell University Solar PV & Geothermal Power Projects

We have advised the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in relation to their student study or work abroad programs, and on employment matters.

Council on International Educational Exchange Employment Matters

We provide immigration support for Bates College on a broad range of questions relating to immigration status, international travel, and visa documentation for international faculty and students, including advice and counsel relating to questions arising under the Trump Administration travel ban.

Immigration Support for International Students and Faculty at Bates College

We have served as outside general counsel to Kents Hill School since the late 1980s in matters involving employment, student affairs, construction projects, debt issuance, intellectual property, real estate, and commercial contracts.

Kents Hill School Outside General Counsel

We have successfully defended the Maine Principals’ Association in numerous legal challenges to its student athlete eligibility rules, including claims that the rules discriminate against student athletes on the basis of sex, national origin, religion and disability.

Maine Principals' Association Defense of Student Athlete Eligibility Rules

We have served as outside general counsel to North Yarmouth Academy in matters involving employment, student affairs and governance. We have also assisted NYA with employment-based immigration work.

North Yarmouth Academy Outside General Counsel for Employment Matters

Performed a pay equity audit for a prominent private college in Massachusetts.

Pay Equity Audit for Massachusetts College

We successfully represented Cornell University before the New York Supreme Court, Fourth Department, in a dispute with the Town of Seneca, New York over the Town's efforts to impose a property tax assessment on Cornell based on the installation of a third-party owned solar PV system on Cornell’s tax-exempt property to provide power to the university under a power purchase agreement (PPA). In a precedent-setting decision, the court found that the third-party owned facility was not assessable as an “improvement” to the land and, if the facility were a permanent attachment to the university land and therefore real property, it would be exempt from taxes pursuant to Cornell University’s education exemption. The decision is the first time a New York court has addressed the question of whether solar and wind facilities are assessable as real property.  The decision has significant implications for solar and wind development in New York.

Precedent-Setting Decision Overturning Solar Tax Assessment

We successfully defended a private higher education institution on breach of contract claims brought by tenured faculty members in connection with a program closure.

Successful Defense of Breach of Contract Claims

On behalf on an independent day school in Massachusetts, negotiated and prepared vendor contract with a company providing residential housing arrangements for international students.

Vendor Contract for Independent Day School