Vedder Price

Higher Education Vedder Industry

Vedder Price represents colleges and universities across North America and around the world. Our attorneys support these institutions in areas ranging from employment to immigration to intellectual property.

You can expect to work with a team of highly experienced, responsive attorneys who understand your operations, your institution's issues and the evolving matters facing the higher education sector. Our team includes attorneys who have in-house and general counsel experience with leading universities and who are members of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. We actively participate in industry events and activities.


Employment Law and Faculty/Student Relations

Vedder Price enjoys an outstanding reputation as a leading employment law firm, with substantial experience representing colleges and universities of all sizes in a wide range of employment and related matters involving faculty, students and employees.

We can assist with:

  • Employment and labor counseling and litigation at all levels of the institution, including discrimination law, harassment, wage/hour compliance, wrongful discharge, employee relations, worker classification, investigations, risk management, workforce reductions, collective bargaining and arbitration, and litigation avoidance
  • Faculty relations, including employment agreements, tenure issues, disciplinary issues and termination
  • Student relations, including admissions, disciplinary challenges, grading disputes, harassment, expulsions, disability accommodations, Title IX compliance and student privacy (FERPA)
  • Policy development and implementation, including codes of conduct, hearing procedures, and alcohol and drug policies
  • Security, threat assessment and crisis management
  • Human resources policy development and administration


Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits

Vedder Price maintains one of the nation's leading practices in executive compensation and employee benefits. Our team has deep experience, state-of-the-art knowledge and a solutions-based approach toward compensation and benefits challenges. We provide practical solutions for competitive compensation and benefits arrangements while helping you navigate the complex legal and regulatory concerns in these areas.

Whatever your challenge, we build solutions that satisfy the needs of your institution, including:

  • Employee benefits plan design and administration Affordable Care Act compliance Retiree medical plan design and administration
  • Retirement plan design and administration, including defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans and nonqualified deferred compensation and excess benefit plans
  • Executive compensation program design and administration Severance and exit incentive program design and administration
  • Compensation and benefits for adjunct professors


Intellectual Property

Intellectual property protection is of vital importance for institutions of higher education. With a full-service patent, copyright, trademark and technology law practice, Vedder Price has the experience and capabilities to help you protect and defend your institution’s intellectual property rights, most notably relating to biotech, chemical and electrical IP. We represent institutions in judicial and administrative proceedings and serve as a valued member of their global intellectual property teams.

Our team will provide litigation support as well as proactive guidance for protecting valuable intellectual property, including

  • Preparation of patent applications and strategy
  • Technology valuation and transfers
  • Creation and operation of spin-off companies to protect and profit from intellectual property
  • Litigation services


Information Technology & Licensing

Vedder Price has been at the leading edge in the constantly evolving field of Information Technology and eCommerce, representing both providers and users of Information Technology, and offering a valuable network of technology and industry partners with unprecedented experience in these areas. Our IT group is dedicated to helping clients to develop customized, yet comprehensive, solutions to their legal needs in the IT area, minimizing risks and costs, increasing efficient use of available IT solutions and, where necessary, maintaining compliance with all applicable governmental regulations and statutes, as well as attaining industry best practices. Members of our group have also represented clients in disputes in IT-related matters, such as failed implementations, trade secret cases and nonperforming systems.

Our attorneys regularly handle a variety of agreements and matters for our clients, including:

  • Software development licensing, implementation/integration and maintenance
  • Hosting agreements (including all aspects of Cloud Computing)
  • Outsourcing (including ASP, BPO and APO)
  • Social Media; mobile connectivity (and BYOD)
  • Business continuity/disaster recovery
  • Cybersecurity/privacy/data protection (foreign and domestic)
  • Records management and eDiscovery solutions



Almost all colleges and universities have business immigration needs. We provide counsel with regard to all immigration matters—from complying with various immigration laws to establishing processes and policies that can help manage exposure to civil and criminal enforcement.

Our experienced attorneys assist in obtaining temporary or permanent immigration status for professors, instructors and employees, as well as with other immigration-related matters. Our comprehensive institutional immigration legal services include assistance with:

  • Nonimmigrant visas, including H-1Bs and J-1s for professors, physicians and other skilled staff
  • Immigrant petitions, including PERMs, special handling, Schedule A, and EB-1s (outstanding researchers and those with extraordinary ability)
  • I-9 and E-Verify compliance through internal audits and liaison with applicable government agencies


Corporate & Governance

We provide counsel on a broad range of legal and business issues essential to both your operations today and your institution's future. We understand the unique governance requirements of higher education and pride ourselves on delivering top-notch, responsive, efficient service for all your business and governance needs. Our attorneys have deep experience in a broad range of legal and business issues facing institutions, including the following areas:

  • Contracts
  • Vendor agreements
  • Construction contracts and matters
  • Litigation matters and tuition disputes
  • Development or reformulation of bylaws
  • Administrative changes
  • Governance structure and issues
  • Foundations and fundraising
  • Litigation



Christopher T. Collins


Sara B. DeBlaze


Daniel B. Lange


Kenneth F. Sparks