For decades, Minnesota institutions and educators have trusted Briggs and Morgan with academic and business legal matters, as general counsel or special counsel on discrete, specialized issues. Educators value the skill of our attorneys and the firm’s broad-based business capabilities. In return, we aim to provide cost-effective, timely representation.
Competent legal counsel has become increasingly important to educational institutions and educators. When faced with difficult termination issues, expulsion cases, discrimination suits, academic freedom challenges, general litigation and union matters, clients rely on Briggs to comprehend the full scope and scale of academic legal matters and provide vigorous legal representation.
Within the education arena, Briggs has handled athletics and Title IX compliance; benefits law; conflicts of interest; contracts with administrators, faculty, students and vendors; copyright; defense and indemnity obligations; deferred giving; discrimination claims and training; diversity issues; facilities finance; First Amendment/academic freedom; general corporate governance and statutory compliance; government investigations; human resources and faculty and staff handbooks; Internet/distance learning; investment and endowment policies; labor law, unionizing efforts and grievances; open meeting law/data practices; privacy; student records; FERPA; HIPAA; Buckley Amendment; real estate/construction/ environmental; research and publications; special education; student affairs/student handbooks; student discipline; faculty tenure issues; technology, computers, and Internet issues; trademarks; and UBIT, nonprofit and for-profit issues.
Briggs has participated in many precedent-setting cases in Minnesota education law. We have represented private colleges and universities, professional schools, and private secondary schools. In this capacity, our experience covers a variety of issues from corporate governance to faculty terminations, construction problems to academic freedom challenges, and student privacy issues to unionizing efforts. We negotiate and draft key employee contracts; prepare charitable gifts and endowments for private clients and schools; and also represent school publishers, libraries, school computer consortiums, and religious institutions with education ministries. The firm's experience in corporate, tax, human resources and technology law is especially relevant to issues affecting the for-profit education sector. Briggs also counsels educators and a state-wide association of professional educators in contract negotiations and reviews, disciplinary cases, retirement and severance issues.
Charter schools turn to Briggs for representation in complex employment law litigation as well as day-to-day activities, resulting in solid formation, sound infrastructure and strong defense. We have acted as bond and school counsel for charter schools and third-party managers on more than $150 million of tax-exempt lease revenue bonds associated with financing facilities. We have been actively involved in the development of charter schools and assisted with the writing of Minnesota’s Charter School Law, enacted in 1991. Clients have included private managers of charter schools as well as independently operated charter schools.
Briggs recognizes the importance of supporting the community. Our education attorneys have developed first-hand perspectives on educational concerns through service on board and trustee committees, alumni association boards, and faculty positions. Several are members of the National Association of College and University Attorneys and the Minnesota Council of School Attorneys.
In the last 10 years, the Briggs and Morgan Foundation, which is funded entirely by shareholders, has donated more than $2 million to 501(c)(3) organizations, including many education beneficiaries:
- College of St. Catherine
- Hamline University
- Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest
- Minnesota Private College Foundation
- Native American Indian Law Students Association
- James J. Hill Reference Library
- Augsburg College
- University of St. Thomas
- University of Minnesota Foundation
- Mitchell Hamline School of Law
- Northern Voices Oral School for the Deaf
- Nova Classical Academy
- The Blake School
- Page Education Foundation
- Pride Scholarship
- Represent private and public institutions of higher learning in student and faculty matters.
- Regularly manage crisis issues for major nonprofits.
- Represent many regional foundations, charities, colleges and private schools as qeueral counsel on all legal matters.
- Advise regularly on charitable giving and donor relations.
- Advise charitable trusts on court processes and work with the Attorney General's office.
- Represent non-profits in all types of litigation, including probate and employment issues.
- Advise on complicated questions of IRS tax compliance, including UBIT, and excess benefit and political activities.
- Act as bond counsel to one of the largest Minnesota school districts.
- Acted as bond and/or school counsel on more than $150 million of tax-exempt lease revenue bonds associated with financing facilities for charter schools.
- Advised educational institution on compliance with Title IX requirements.
- Defended educational institution from charge of alleged disability discrimination filed by former student, resulting in dismissal of charge.
- Defended educational institution from lawsuit alleging violations of the FMLA.
- Represent and advise nonprofit on formation issues, applications for tax-exempt status and other aspects of operating issues.
- Represented community college foundation in tax-exempt financing for student housing.