Higher Education

Why Cooley

We are trusted counsel to 400+ education clients, offering an efficient single source for sophisticated legal services across the education spectrum. With the largest practice devoted exclusively to this sector, we combine an exceptional depth of knowledge with extensive experience in the many substantive areas that characterize contemporary education. Our clients include postsecondary institutions, schools, education organizations, accreditors, investors, lenders and businesses that provide service to and finance the broader education community. Our multidisciplinary team provides solutions that enable our clients to seize new opportunities and successfully meet the challenges of the constantly changing business, regulatory and technological education industry landscape.


We guide our clients through complex negotiations, multilevel financings and all phases of strategic transactions. Our lawyers and subject matter professionals have extensive experience in corporate formation, for-profit to nonprofit conversions, venture financings, public offerings, debt and equity offerings and M&A in the education sector. We work with our clients to design structures that achieve their goals while successfully navigating the complex education regulatory environment.

Areas of Practice

  • Commercial and distribution agreements
  • Company formation
  • Financings
  • For-profit and nonprofit taxation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Public financings and private placements
  • Sale and purchase of assets
  • Strategic partnerships


We combine the substantive experience of our education practice with our nationally recognized litigation practice to effectively and aggressively defend our clients against federal and state court and administrative challenges. We represent education clients facing sanctions or adverse actions and, if necessary, seek legal recourse to retain accredited status.

Areas of Practice

  • Accreditation challenges
  • Class action defense
  • Contract and license disputes
  • Employment litigation
  • Privacy litigation
  • Restructuring, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights
  • Securities litigation
  • Tax controversy 


Our lawyers have deep industry knowledge of all aspects of the education sector, bringing to bear 30+ years of experience advising clients on the regulatory factors that impact their businesses. We are experienced in a broad range of substantive legal areas, including federal regulation of student financial aid, accreditation and state licensure, antitrust, communications regulation, employee benefits, labor relations, legislation, privacy and data protection and related First Amendment counseling.

Areas of Practice

  • Accreditation and licensure
  • Antitrust counseling
  • Corporate governance
  • Education regulations
  • Employment and benefits
  • Export control and international trade regulations
  • Federal student aid funds
  • Privacy and data protection counseling and data breach response

Intellectual Property

We represent education clients on matters ranging from the protection, acquisition, licensing and use of technology and intellectual property to counseling and negotiating matters affecting virtually every kind of new media and alternative technology. We also advise on all aspects of copyright law, from fair use analyses to advice on compulsory licensing schemes.

Areas of Practice

  • Copyright design and protection
  • Patent procurement and enforcement
  • Portfolio management and analysis
  • Technology transactions and licensing
  • Trade secrets counseling
  • Trademark protection and enforcement