Ward Greenberg attorneys represent a host of educational institutions in connection with an array of higher education matters, including tenure review, tenure denial, and tenure revocation; faculty and employee misconduct; Title IX sexual misconduct investigations and litigation; allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; investigations into claims of academic and scientific misconduct; disability accommodations; governmental and agency investigations; student discipline and misconduct; program modifications and closures; governance issues; and matters involving serious physical injury and death.

For institutions struggling with challenging employee, faculty, student, or family matters, or facing serious governmental inquiries—where prompt, deft, and capable assistance of counsel is a must—Ward Greenberg has the depth of experience to quickly comprehend and address the problems while restoring equilibrium, calming administration’s concerns, furthering institutional objectives, and minimizing the negative fallout that can occur in these difficult circumstances. Ward Greenberg balances pragmatic action with composure, confidence, and a focus on collaboration and efficiency, with the aim of delivering real value, every time, to the institutions we work with. That is why Ward Greenberg is the firm of choice for numerous colleges, universities, academic medical centers, and professional schools located throughout New York State, and beyond.

Ward Greenberg lawyers present frequently to higher education audiences at the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Council of Independent Colleges, at client institutions, and at regional higher education groups. For more than 20 years, Ward Greenberg lawyers have been designated by United Educators as preferred counsel, and one of our partners was designated by United Educators as the inaugural recipient of its Distinguished Counsel award.

Representative Experience

  • Secured order dismissing all claims, including ethnic discrimination and breach of contract claims brought by unsuccessful tenure applicant against University and Dean of the College. Matter of Vengalattore v. Cornell Univ., 161 AD3d 1350 (3d Dept).
  • Courts dismissed plaintiff’s complaints alleging “reverse Title IX” and breach of contract claims. B.B. v. The New School, Index No.159161/17 (Sup. Ct. NY Cty.) and B.B. v. The New School, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80068 (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Obtained dismissal of all significant claims in litigation brought by former student alleging disability discrimination, civil rights violations, false arrest claim, and numerous additional tort-based claims. Bied v. Cty. of Rensselaer, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55143 (N.D.N.Y.).
  • Represented employer at the New York Court of Appeals and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in case of first impression, considering availability of Faragher-Ellerth affirmative defense to claims brought under New York City Administrative Code. Zakrzewska v. The New School, 14 NY3d 469 (NY Ct App); Zakrzewska v. The New School, 620 F3d 168 (2d Cir.).
  • Obtained dismissal of all operative claims asserted by graduate student against University alleging misconduct in connection with administration of grant. Demas v. Levitsky, 291 AD2d 653 (3d Dept).
  • Investigated claims of violation by University of Title IX in connection with discipline of student for sexual misconduct.
  • Investigated claims of misconduct by academic support office and student tutors at large university.
  • Defended large university against claims stemming from alleged scientific misconduct on the part of tenured faculty member.
  • Represented graduate institution in tenure revocation proceedings involving faculty member with record of seriously deficient academic productivity and significant conflicts with colleagues.
  • Conducted multi-campus investigation into allegations of serious wrongdoing by institutional human resources personnel.
  • Represented university with respect to claims arising from alleged misbehavior of various student athletes, and assisted in coordination of internal institutional response to those claims.
  • Defended university in race discrimination action involving issues of first impression under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act.
  • Counseled medical research institute about planned closure and transfer of assets, completely avoiding claims by former employees.
  • Assisted university system with internal investigation into allegedly unlawful hiring practices.
  • Defended research foundation in federal multi-plaintiff litigation brought by administrators and staff members alleging sexual harassment, gender bias, and retaliation.
  • Represented various medical colleges alleged to have violated NIH grant administration and grant reporting procedures.
  • Defend educational institutions in connection with federal Office for Civil Rights investigations, including alleged discrimination against disabled students in provision of campus transportation; discrimination against hearing-impaired student denied real-time transcripts and other academic accommodations; allegedly wrongful dismissal of a student purportedly suffering from a serious emotional disorder; and a wide array of claims related to the alleged mishandling of investigations and/or disciplinary determinations arising from claims of sexual assault and sexual violence under Title IX.
  • Assist institutions during governmental investigations into allegations of sexual harassment, serious student injuries, student deaths, NCAA rule infractions, and violations of university and/o departmental policies by tenured faculty, junior faculty, staff, and students.
  • Defend colleges, universities, and secondary schools against students or their representatives challenging expulsions, suspensions, and various other disciplinary actions.