Burns & Levinson has been successfully representing schools, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions for over 40 years. Combining legal experience and industry knowledge available across our full range of service areas, Burns & Levinson attorneys have the resources to help educational institutions and organizations working in the education industry to navigate a continually changing legal and regulatory landscape.

Many of the leading liberal arts colleges and research universities throughout New England and the nation, as well as primary and secondary private and public schools, rely on our counsel. Our attorneys work directly with general counsel, senior management, trustee boards, and administrators to provide practical legal advice and effective representation in a wide variety of matters. These include education law and compliance, governance and organizational issues, tax, intellectual property, capital project development, real estate, finance, student affairs matters, employment law, and litigation.

Our schools & colleges team also has noteworthy experience advising public charter schools on a broad range of legal and regulatory matters, from school formation through governance and operational issues.

Community involvement is a priority, and many of our attorneys also hold board positions with schools, colleges, and other educational organizations. They are active and engaged leaders serving as trustees, public school committee members, leaders in alumni organizations, and in other similar capacities.


Education Law & Compliance

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
  • No Child Left Behind Act
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Student Right to Know and Campus Security Act
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act compliance
  • ADA, Section 504, and state disability law compliance
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Governance & Organizational Issues

  • Development and amendment of corporate articles and by-laws
  • Development and amendment of conflict of interest policies for trustees, officers, and senior management
  • Electronic communications and record-keeping
  • Advice regarding general governance and organizational matters
  • Advice regarding trustee liability, insurance, and indemnification
  • Public procurement of supplies and services
  • Taxation

Intellectual Property

  • Provisional and patent application filings and prosecution (U.S. and foreign)
  • Trademark and copyright issues
  • Government contract, licensing, and other technology transfer arrangements
  • Distance education
  • Intellectual property litigation

Capital Projects & Facilities

  • Site acquisition and permitting for new capital facility projects
  • Design and construction contracting strategy and advice
  • Environmental permitting and compliance
  • Project finance and procurement strategy and advice
  • Leasing
  • Public school construction and procurement

Institutional Financing

  • Capital financing strategy and advice
  • Taxable and tax-exempt bond financing transactions
  • Public school financing
  • Formation and administration of charitable and planned giving programs

Student Affairs

  • Development and amendment of student handbook and other policies
  • Advice on compliance with special education laws, disciplinary proceedings, and “due process” issues
  • Representation in litigation arising from student mental health issues, discrimination and civil rights cases, crimes on campus, and student disciplinary proceedings

Labor & Employment

  • Compliance with state and federal employment, discrimination, and wage and hour laws
  • Tenure disputes
  • Drafting and reviewing employee and faculty handbooks and policies
  • Sexual harassment and discrimination matters

Employee Benefits

  • Tax-qualified benefit, defined contribution and cash balance plans
  • Design and implementation of retirement and deferred compensation plans for faculty, staff, and executives, including 403(b), 401(a), and 457 plans
  • Non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements
  • Section 125 cafeteria plans
  • Tuition assistance and rebate programs and children’s scholarship plans
  • Employee housing


  • Intellectual property disputes
  • Disability and discrimination claims
  • Employment benefit and contract disputes, wrongful termination claims, and sexual harassment
  • Construction-related disputes, ADR, and litigation
  • Advice on risk management and avoidance strategies
Professionals Resources