Colleges & Universities
Colleges & Universities / Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs)
The Banks Law Firm (TBLF) represents colleges and universities in both transactions and litigation matters. TBLF has assisted clients in matters related to governance, risk management, development of housing, and faculty and staff employment issues. TBLF has also worked with affiliated foundation boards of colleges and universities.
TBLF also has a specific focus representing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCUs are quintessential American institutions of higher education because they have and continue to provide transformative educational access to all people, particularly persons of color. HBCUs play an integral role in bridging the opportunity gap in the United States and abroad.
We understand the unique legacy and contemporary importance of HBCUs. HBCUs tend to be diverse in terms of their histories, missions and priorities, student bodies, faculty and staff, geographical locations, and financial strength, to name a few characteristics. In light of these characteristics, HBCUs, similar to other colleges and universities, face a variety of challenges due to the changing nature of higher education, including heightened regulatory scrutiny, campus safety, public health matters (e.g. COVID-19 issues), student housing, and employment law.
TBLF utilizes lawyers from various practice areas to serve the needs of our HBCU clients. We work with existing in-house counsel, or serve as outside counsel for those institutions without in-house counsel, to provide traditional in-house legal support. We have served our higher education clients in the following areas:
- By-laws review and revisions to conform with client needs and practices, accrediting body standards, university system policies, legal requirements and best practices.
- Board policy creation, review and revisions (e.g. conflict of interest policies).
- Board policy training.
- Advice regarding hiring, discipline and separation of executive staff (e.g. President, Executive Director), including drafting and negotiation of employment and separation agreements.
- Internal and external Board investigations.
- Litigation initiation, defense, oversight and monitoring.
- Legal and regulatory compliance reviews.
- Contract drafting, negotiation, compliance and termination (IT, dining services, consultants).
- Accreditation litigation.
- Accreditation transition.
- Crisis management-strategic communication.
- Department of Education administrative actions.
- Insurance claims.
- COVID-19 policy drafting.
- Title IX, Clery Act and FERPA.
- Student matters (discipline, organizations, policies).
- Student voter ID litigation.
- Review and drafting of university system required agreements (e.g. memorandum of understanding).
- Conflicts of interest.
- Personnel investigations and personnel policy review and revisions.
- Fraud investigations.
- Employee hiring, counseling, discipline and termination.
- Discrimination and sexual harassment issues, including investigations and policy drafting, review and revisions.
- Reduction-in-force and re-organization.
- Student and employee disability accommodation issues, including policy review.
- External forensic audit investigations.