Higher Education

Liberal arts colleges and public universites across the Commonwealth trust our lawyers to help them navigate complex compliance and legal challenges.

Whether addressing academic freedom, handling employment law inquiries, raising funds for infrastructure, or conducting Title IX investigations and training, Sands Anderson’s Higher Education Team can help. We have a deep bench of attorneys well-versed in the specific needs and concerns of higher education institutions and are ready to serve you.

Our team has experience handling claims before the EEOC, the VEC, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights, and the Virginia Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights. We are also experienced in serving as investigators and counsel in Title IX proceedings and representing higher education clients in state and Federal Court.

Our Services

Our lawyers provide the following services to colleges and universities:


  • Serve as general counsel on day to day matters
  • Provide advice regarding Freedom of Information Act, Conflict of Interest Act, and Public Records Act compliance requirements
  • Provide advice regarding academic freedom and free speech policies
  • Address issues related to intellectual property, grants, and university ownership interests in academic work product
  • Provide advice on Clery Act questions and reporting requirements

Title IX

  • Conduct Title IX and workplace investigations as outside counsel
  • Act as advisor, mediator or investigator in the Title IX process
  • Revise Title IX policies and processes to comport with regulatory requirements
  • Provide Title IX training, advice, and support


  • Draft contracts and other agreements
  • Assist in procurement efforts including applicable regulatory compliance


  • Provide employment and labor advice including employment contracts and severance agreements
  • Provide ADA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Virginia Human Rights Act, and other employment law compliance advice and support
  • Conduct audits of admissions practices in line with the Supreme Court of the United States’ recent affirmative action ruling
  • Conduct audits of and consultation on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
  • Review and preparing faculty handbooks


  • Provide litigation services, including trial of complex matters, assisting with discovery obligations, and responding to government investigations

Public Finance

  • Serve as bond counsel in financings that provide funds for the improvement and development of campus facilities

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