Independent K-12 Schools

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Navigating Issues Unique to the Independent School Landscape

In addition to independent schools’ core educational missions, they must balance a host of business and legal needs in order to prudently manage their endowments, admissions, and enrollment priorities and to hire and retain top-quality employees all while remaining alert to applicable state and federal laws.

Saul Ewing attorneys are well-versed in counseling independent K-12 schools. We advise them on a variety of matters, such as internal investigations; board governance; labor and employment; tax; policies; real estate; crisis management; disputes and litigation; student discipline; student housing; and academic, medical and disability accommodations.

Our team regularly:

  • Advises and counsels private school boards on governance, endowment and investment issues.
  • Assists independent schools with all aspects of employee relations, including drafting and reviewing contracts, reviewing and revising employee handbooks/policies, advising on benefits and related issues, and defending schools in related litigation and administrative matters.
  • Drafts, reviews and updates school-wide policies, including student handbooks, discipline, sexual misconduct, student travel, and general releases and waivers.
  • Assists regarding compliance with applicable state and federal school laws, and handles compliance audits and government investigations.
  • Advises, and when necessary defends, schools on a multitude of student issues, including student discipline, student housing, mental health issues, accommodations and study abroad programs.
  • Reviews and advises schools on vendor contracts. 
  • Handles a variety of tax matters for schools, including tax appeals, tax credits, and federal IRS 501(c)(3) requirements for tax-exempt status.
  • Advises on legal and public aspects of media relations when managing crises.
  • Represents schools on development and financing matters, including the purchase and/or lease of facilities, tax-exempt bond financing, partnerships with foundations, and loan guaranties.
  • Handles high-profile, in-the-media investigations into allegations of current or historic misconduct on campus.


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Campus Map: Covering Your School's Legal Issues

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James A. Keller
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