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The representation of education institutions is a core competency of Carlton Fields. We regularly represent educational institutions of all types and sizes, including private and public colleges and universities, independent primary and secondary schools, charter schools, nonprofit and proprietary institutions, school districts, and businesses that service the education sector.

We offer a holistic approach, leveraging the collective skills of a team of attorneys across a wide range of disciplines to address the unique and diverse issues facing educational institutions. We routinely counsel institutions on issues involving employment and labor, employee benefits, banking and finance, government contracts, advocacy, intellectual property and technology, cyber defense and breach response, and regulatory compliance. Our lawyers are widely recognized as possessing a practical, business-oriented approach.

We have deep experience in the complexities representing institutions involved in litigation and investigations. We seek innovative solutions to complex problems, always mindful that a “win” can come in a variety of forms. We regularly represent colleges and universities in Title IX investigations and litigation, including so-called reverse Title IX cases, brought by male students accused of sexual misconduct. Recently, we represented a private university through an OCR investigation of the gender equity of its Division I athletics program.  

Our representation spans a wide array of matters, including:

  • Board governance
  • Employment and labor issues
  • Student discipline
  • Sexual misconduct investigations
  • Disability and accommodation issues
  • Faculty matters
  • Risk management
  • Litigation
  • Gender equity in athletics under Title IX
  • Training and compliance under Title IX
  • Sexual harassment and assault investigations
  • Whistleblower investigations
  • Government relations and advocacy
  • Cybersecurity defense and data breach response
  • IP protection and technology transfer
  • Regulatory compliance


  • Advised independent schools on investigations of historical sexual misconduct.
  • Conducted investigations of historical sexual misconduct at independent schools.
  • Conducted trial of breach of contract claim against university over alleged promises for athletic scholarship money.
  • Advised independent school about accommodations requested by faculty member.
  • Represented independent school in incident of sexual assault by faculty member against student.
  • Regularly advises independent schools on day-to-day issues such as personnel matters and student and parent issues.
  • Conducted extensive internal investigation of allegations of wrongdoing by the president of a private university.
  • Appointed to college’s Sexual Misconduct Task Force.
  • Advised university on investigation of fraternity hazing and Title IX violations.
  • Defended universities in Title IX lawsuits.
  • Advised college on proper procedures required for hearing over complaint of student on student sexual assault.
  • Represented university in Title IX compliance review by the OCR addressing issues of equity in athletics opportunities, scholarships, and facilities.
  • Obtained dismissal of OCR gender discrimination complaint regarding university student athlete denied admission.
  • Redrafted bylaws of independent secondary schools to improve institutional governance and best practices.
  • Provided training to various schools, colleges, and universities on sexual misconduct policies, investigations, and compliance with state and federal laws.
  • Provided sexual harassment training for colleges and universities.
  • Defended, through trial, a lawsuit brought against a university challenging the university’s response to hazing at a sorority. The case resulted in a verdict in favor of the university.
  • Defended college in lawsuit brought by student injured at fraternity event.
  • Defended university in lawsuit by faculty member denied tenure.
  • Drafted contracts for heads of independent schools.


Our Team

Key Contacts

James M. Sconzo

Additional Members

Alundai J. Benjamin
John E. Clabby
Alexander D. del Russo
West Palm Beach
Brendan N. Gooley
Erin J. Hoyle
Federico M. Maciá
Of Counsel
John C. Pitblado
Jonathan Sterling
Stacey K. Sutton
Washington, D.C.
Gwaina D. Wauldon
Senior Counsel
Michael L. Yaeger
New York