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Franczek helps governing boards and senior leadership comply with the extensive array of external laws, contractual obligations, and internal policies and procedures required to govern an institution of higher learning in the new millennium. Depending upon the institution, these may include federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and constitutional constraints; collective bargaining agreements and contracts with business partners; institutional rules and regulations; rules and regulations of religious denominations; and established custom and practice within the institution or within the higher education community. We work with leadership to develop policies, practices, and programs that help an institution comply with applicable laws and policies without losing sight of its core values and mission. We advise institutions on the following issues: 

  • Organizational structure, governance, control, liability, finances, and accountability
  • Drafting and updating governing board bylaws, conflict of interest policies, compliance programs, and governance documents necessary to comply with IRS Form 990 revisions
  • Advising boards on an ongoing basis about evolving best practices and help educate the board and its committees about how these current policies and evolving “best practices” play out at the particular institution
  • Designing policies and implementing strategies for compliance with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Open Meetings Act (OMA), and other laws governing records disclosure, trustee elections and referenda, records retention, and ethics
  • Developing and reviewing contracts, program affiliation agreements, and study abroad documents, including releases and affiliations with foreign institutions

We counsel institutions of higher learning in all aspects of employment compliance. This includes drafting and updating of policies, training employees about policy compliance, and “real-time” counseling to avoid conflicts. Our attorneys are experienced in developing and updating tenure and faculty-related policies, employee handbooks, compliance programs, whistleblower policies, and policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. We also draft and revise appointment letters, employee contracts, non-compete agreements, and confidentiality agreements.

Prior to litigation and potential government investigations, we also counsel clients on compliance with the FLSA and the anti-discrimination laws, including the FMLA, ADA, and Title VII. We have experience investigating employee misconduct, helping clients comply with due process requirements in the context of discipline or termination of employees, drafting remediation plans as needed, and drafting and negotiating administrator contracts.