College & University Law Experience. Professionalism. Results.

College & University Lawyers

Experienced Higher Education Attorneys in Boston

Rose Law Partners represents colleges and universities, as well as independent schools and other academic and charitable organizations, in a wide variety of legal matters. The firm is recognized as one of the Best Law Firms for Education Law by U.S. News & World Report. Our Boston higher education lawyers have extensive experience in college and university law.

What is Higher Education Litigation?

Establishments of higher learning must be prepared for a large variety of legal issues and obstacles, ranging from First Amendment rights to labor and employment conflicts to student safety and campus security. The laws and regulations that influence colleges and universities are continuously evolving.

At Rose Law Partners we understand higher education and all the diverse legal issues that may emerge from it. We have experience defending small and large universities alike, and have a team of skilled attorneys who have experience counseling and advising post-secondary institutions.

Higher Education Cases We Handle

Our specific practice areas in college and university law include, but are not limited to:

Rose Law Partners has represented and defended: Andover Newton Theological School, Bentley College, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Cambridge College, College of the Holy Cross, Emerson College, Hampshire College, Forsyth Institute, Harvard University, Lesley University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New England School of Acupuncture, New York University, Noble and Greenough School, Princeton University, Pine Manor College, Regis College, Rivers School, Tufts University, the University of Pennsylvania, Western New England University, Wheelock College, Williams College and the America East Conference.

We have also represented college and university presidents, trustees, deans, provosts, department chairs, tenure committees, and other faculty members in their administrative and academic roles.

About Our College & University Litigation Team

Alan D. Rose, the Managing Partner of the firm, is recognized as one of Boston’s premier lawyers in the field of Education Law by The Best Lawyers in America. In 2013, he was named the Education Lawyer of the Year in Boston by The Best Lawyers in America. He is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and has been a speaker at its annual conferences in San Antonio in 1995 (tenure litigation), Washington, D.C., in 2000 (student discipline cases), San Diego in 2001 (student discipline), and mid-year conferences in Austin, Texas in 2003 and Phoenix, Arizona in 2005 (ADA claims). He has also appeared on CNN, New England Cable News, and Channel 5 on higher education-related issues. He is a member of the Boston Bar Association College and University Law Section.

Judith R. Sizer, the former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Brandeis University, joined Rose Law Partners in February, 2014. Judy has chaired the Boston Bar Association College and University Law Section, is a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and has spoken on education issues at conferences sponsored by NACUA, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, the Boston Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Conference for Board Members. She has served on the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on Public Charities and on a BBA Task Force on Chapter 180, the Massachusetts charitable corporations statute. Judy participated in two of the most significant local transactional matters in higher education. She represents Andover Newton Theological School, the oldest graduate seminary in the country, in its affiliation agreement with Yale University. She represented Wheelock College in its negotiation with, and merger into Boston University.

Judy Sizer provides substantial depth and experience in numerous areas, including general higher education advice, advice and counsel on Board issues (governance, bylaws, state law compliance), endowments, fundraising and development (gift agreements, endowment restrictions, AGO inquiries), legal compliance and risk management reviews and audits, contract and policy review, training, museum collections and other academic and administrative concerns. Judy currently serves as the part-time General Counsel of a local private college.

Notable Cases: Alan D. Rose

Alan Rose, assisted by his colleagues at our firm, has handled a great number of notable cases, including but not limited to:

  • Successfully argued the leading Massachusetts case in the Supreme Judicial Court on student discipline (Schaer v. Brandeis University, 432 Mass. 474, 735 N.E.2d 373 (2000)) and many other student discipline cases
  • Successfully tried, with inside counsel, a leading ADA case involving students with learning disabilities (Guckenberger v. Boston University, 957 F.Supp. 306, 974 F.Supp. 106, 8 F.Supp.2d 82, 8 F.Supp.2d 91 (D.Mass.1997 and 1998))
  • Successfully argued a leading case involving academic adjustments for learning disabled students (Wynne v. Tufts University School of Medicine, 932 F.2d 19 (en banc) (1991) and 976 F.2d 791 (1st Cir. 1992))
  • Successfully represented universities in numerous civil rights and discrimination claims brought by faculty members, students, and staff
  • Successfully represented, at jury trial and on appeal, two academic researchers and two hospitals in a federal qui tam whistleblower case, United States ex rel. Jones v. Brigham and Women's Hospital, et al., 780 F.3d 479 (1st Cir. 2015)
  • Filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of 14 Massachusetts colleges and universities in support of the position of MIT in Shin v. MIT, involving claims against administrators arising from an undergraduate student's suicide
  • Filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of eleven Massachusetts colleges and universities in support of the position of Tufts University in Roman v. Trustees of Tufts College, 461 Mass. 707, 964 N.E.2d 331 (2012), a leading case involving the applicability of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act to colleges and universities
  • With Anthony Moriello and Aidan Flanagan, filed an amicus brief in September 2017 on behalf of 18 Massachusetts colleges and universities in support of the position of MIT in MIT in Nguyen v. MIT, a precedent-setting case in the Supreme Judicial Court (as of January 1, 2018), also involving claims against administrators arising from a suicide of a graduate student
  • Filed an amicus brief in 2018 on behalf of 16 Massachusetts colleges and universities in opposition to President Trump's travel ban
  • Advised a college on a reduction in force of tenured and non-tenured faculty and staff (with no litigation brought)
  • Represented a tenure review committee accused of bias in the denial of tenure
  • Represented a university in probate court in connection with donor concerns about the university’s handling of its art museum
  • Served as the “prosecutor” in tenure revocation proceedings
  • Represented a university under investigation for fraud against the United States (no charges were brought)
  • Advised colleges on the rules and regulations governing the collection of student loans
  • Represented universities in commercial, real estate and construction litigation
  • Drafted tenure and student discipline guidelines
  • Represented universities in response to subpoenas for records by governmental agencies and private parties
  • Represented colleges and universities in federal Office for Civil Rights investigations and internal investigations
  • Represented a major university in a federal investigation concerning the use of federal grants

Notable Cases: Judith Sizer

Judy Sizer’s experiences include, among others:

  • Represented the smaller partner in two recent merger/affiliations with larger institutions (Andover Newton Theological School/Yale Wheelock College/BU)
  • Advice on Board issues: governance, bylaws, votes and minutes, Chapter 180/180A compliance, conflict of interest policies, trustee liability, executive compensation, advisory boards, signatory authority, Form 990/Form PC
  • Advice on endowments, fundraising, and development issues: gift acceptance policies, gift agreements, donor intent research, AGO inquiries, endowment utilization, tax concerns, trust and estate administration
  • Legal, compliance, and risk management reviews and audits
  • Review, drafting, and negotiation of contracts, releases, MOUs
  • Drafting assistance on policies: student, academic, staff, business conduct, policy review process
  • Internal investigations on student, employment, and academic issues
  • Training for staff and/or faculty on specific legal topics
  • Advice on museum collections: acquisitions, deaccessions, policies
  • Advice on accreditation issues
  • Advice on records retention

For more information about higher education litigation or to discuss your legal needs, call (617) 712-0230 or contact us online.


  • Complex Litigation Matters
  • Boutique Litigation Firm
  • Hands-On Representation
  • Decades of Combined Experience


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