Educational Institutions Investigations

Educational institutions are unique. Each school operates as a microcosm with many different factions – including students, professors, administrators, and other employees – and an incredible variety of aspects to campus life, with academics, research, sports, housing, and student organizations to name just a few. With such wide-ranging breadth in this highly regulated industry, educational institutions can face significant challenges on numerous fronts when an issue arises necessitating an internal investigation or in responding to a government investigation.

McGuireWoods is a nationally recognized leader in representing and serving as a trusted advisor to educational institutions, including public, private, and proprietary colleges and universities; K-12 schools; charter schools; school boards; academic medical centers; foundations and endowments. From sexual assault allegations to Title IX litigation to inquiries into compliance with state and federal regulations, McGuireWoods has seen educational institutions through their most trying moments.

We have deep experience conducting internal reviews and investigations, audits, and responses to government inquiries on behalf of educational institutions. We routinely handle government investigations concerning a wide range of conduct by various federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Federal Student Aid, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Our Team

The Educational Investigations Team at McGuireWoods is part of an elite Government Investigations and White Collar Litigation Department that has been recognized as a Law360 Practice Group of the Year. Our senior team is comprised of a deep bench of lawyers with decades of experience with investigations, including:

  • Former Deputy Attorney General and Acting Attorney General of the United States
  • Former Associate Counsel for the President of the United States
  • Former state Attorney General
  • Former U.S. Attorneys and more than a dozen federal prosecutors
  • Former Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s National Security Division
  • Former Deputy General Counsel for Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education
  • Former state secretaries of education
  • Former chairman of a state Council on Higher Education
  • Former in-house counsel of a public flagship four-year research university
  • Member of a state Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s Higher Education Transition Group
  • Current and former members and chairs of public and private colleges’ boards of trustees around the country
  • Current and former rectors of several major colleges and universities
  • Former administrators of several major colleges and universities

How We Help

McGuireWoods’ Educational Investigations Team helps our clients navigate the challenging investigations process. Whether the issue is one raised by a student privately to an administrator or a highly publicized government investigation, we gauge the potential legal and reputational consequences, conduct a thorough investigation, and counsel clients on how to resolve the issue positively while avoiding damaging missteps. Our team also helps clients limit the collateral consequences by developing strategies to reduce and address private litigation and potential criminal exposure. Furthering our expertise and in close collaboration with McGuireWoods’ Strategic Risk and Crisis Management Group, our team also manages ancillary issues associated with educational investigations, including board of trustee relations, media inquiries, and other crisis management matters.

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Download a PDF copy of our industry brochure.