Robinson+Cole regularly serves as outside counsel to large universities, midsize colleges and independent schools, providing investigatory, advisory, transactional, and litigation services to meet the needs that are unique to educational institutions. We provide legal services in a broad range of practice areas that shape the student, faculty and administrator experience.


The issues faced by our education clients are as diverse and complex as the members of their communities, from governance and administration to employees and students. Drawing upon the collective experience of every practice group Robinson+Cole has to offer, our Education Group brings a collaborative approach to solving these problems. Schools face many challenges amid dwindling resources, and we provide clear, practical guidance to help them achieve their mission.

Decisions in one area often cause ripples elsewhere that can disrupt the equilibrium of an institution. Our lawyers know this, and they work together and with clients to assess risk and provide practical solutions. When necessary, our attorneys guide clients through processes to resolve disputes early and efficiently. If early resolution is not possible, we are prepared to pursue a resolution in any forum, including litigation. Our firm has a wide range of experience in practice areas that educational institutions require:


Our lawyers closely monitor developments in the education sector. We maintain active membership in, attend and present at national and regional conferences for leading organizations such as the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, and the Licensing Executive Society.

Robinson+Cole offers clients personal attention, responsiveness, cost efficiency, and creative, alternative approaches to fees.

    • Experiences
      • Representation of Providence College in drafting and negotiating the design and construction agreements for the Ruane Center for Humanities, a 63,000-square-foot building constructed to accommodate its new Development of Western Civilization program, as well as offices for the School of Arts & Sciences, the center for the Study of the Humanities, the Liberal Arts Honors Program, and the Departments of English and History.

      • Representation of an independent coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school in negotiating a design contract for a 24,000-square-foot science building designed and built in accordance with sustainability principles of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council.  

      • Representation of a Connecticut town in drafting the construction and design services agreements for the proposed renovation of a high school, the roof replacement at an elementary school, and a new town hall and police station.

      • Representation of Common Ground in New Haven, Connecticut, the nation's longest-running environmental charter high school, in preparing RFP materials and a construction contract for the construction of a new center for learning and leadership, renovating existing school buildings, and making extensive sustainability upgrades on the charter school's 21-acre campus.

      • Representation of King Low Heywood Thomas School in Stamford, Connecticut, in preparing design and construction management contracts for the phased renovations to the Upper School, including a state-of-the-art academic center, new common space with integrated vertical circulation, substantial renovation of support space, asbestos abatement, and infrastructure improvements.

    • News
      • July 30, 2021

        Kate Dion and Seth Orkand Present Webinar on Reopening College Campuses

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      • June 9, 2021

        Natale DiNatale and Emily Zaklukiewicz Author University Business Article on Adjunct Faculty Unionization

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      • August 26, 2020

        Kate Dion Quoted in Wall Street Journal Article on COVID-19 Health Information Privacy in Higher Education

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      • November 5, 2019

        Kate Dion Honored by Western New England University School of Law

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      • January 17, 2019

        Kathryn Rattigan Appointed to Stonehill College President’s Advisory Group

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      • June 28, 2018

        Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson and Ed Heath Present on Internal Investigations During AICUM Spring Symposium

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      • October 13, 2017

        Kathleen Porter and Kate Dion Address Student Speech and Social Media at AICUM Symposium

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      • September 27, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Participate in 2017 Southern New England Energy Conference

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      • May 26, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Host Loomis Chaffee Students as Part of Alumni Shadow Day

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      • March 22, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present at World of Higher Education Conference

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      • October 20, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present at AICUM Fall Symposium 2016

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      • August 25, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Launches HigherEdWire – News for legal counsel

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      • August 18, 2014

        Hartford Lawyers Present Education Law Program to UHart Students

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      • June 25, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Introduces HigherEdWire Group on LinkedIn

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      • November 2, 2010

        Construction Attorneys Speak on Green Buildings and Sustainable Construction

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    • Publications + Presentations
    • "NLRB's General Counsel Seeks to Allow Athletes to Form a Union and Require Universities to Bargain," co-presented by Natale V. DiNatale and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz, at the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges’ “Partnering for Progress” Annual Member Forum (11/22/2021)
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      "Education Roundtable: Complying with Immigration and Export Control Regulations with International Students and Staff," co-presented by Kathleen M. Porter and Lauren M. Sigg, an R+C-hosted webinar (10/28/2021)
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      "To Bond or Not To Bond? That Is The Question... Or Is There Another –Consider Subcontractor Default Insurance?" co-presented by Dennis C. Cavanaugh and Gregory R. Faulkner, at the Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers’ (HEREL) virtual 2021 Annual Conference. Robinson+Cole was pleased to host the day’s conference sessions. (10/21/2021)
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      "Education Roundtable, Protecting Your 403(b) Plan from Litigation," presented by Virginia E. McGarrity, Hosted by Robinson+Cole and Fiducient Advisors (9/15/2021)
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      "The College Athlete Right to Organize Act – Labor Unions Enter the Pay-for-Play Debate" co-authored by Natale V. DiNatale and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz (6/2/2021)

      "OCR Provides Roadmap of Its Review of Title IX Regulations" co-authored by Kathleen E. Dion and Seth B. Orkand (4/9/2021)

      "President Directs Department of Education to Begin Dismantling Trump-Era Title IX Sexual Misconduct Regulations" co-authored by Seth B. Orkand and Kathleen E. Dion (3/8/21)

      "Independent Schools and PPP Loans: Are You In Compliance With Title IX?" co-authored by Kathleen E. Dion and Jenna M. Scoville (11/18/2020)

      "COVID-19 and Returning to Campus: Liability Concerns for Educational Institutions," co-presented by Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson and Kathleen E. Dion, which addressed important topics that educational institutions, including universities and independent schools, should consider when deciding how to open their campuses, including recent guidance from the CDC as well as state and local governments. (6/30/2020)
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      "Student Speech on Social Media: From Cyberbullying to Campus Protests," co-presented by Kathleen E. Dion and Kathleen M. Porter, at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICUM) Fall Symposium 2017 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts (10/6/2017)
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      "403(b) plans under attack: Fiduciary breach class actions brought against multiple plans," co-presented by Bruce B. Barth and Virginia E. McGarrity, at the AICUM Spring Symposium 2017 in Worcester, Massachusetts (3/23/2017)
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      "Scandal on Campus and the Modern Day Investigation: Harassment, Sexting, and Avoiding the 'Rabbit Hole'," co-presented by Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson and Kathleen E. Dion, presented at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) Fall Symposium, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts (10/14/2016)
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      "Risk Management for Independent Schools: Best Practices & The Board’s Role," presented by Kathleen E. Dion, presented at the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference on Governance, Hopkins School, New Haven, Connecticut (9/24/2016)

      "King v. Burwell," presented by Virginia E. McGarrity, guest lecturer for a Supreme Court symposium at Quinnipiac University School of Law (3/30/2015)
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      "Robinson+Cole's Education Group Launches HigherEdWire LinkedIn Group" (8/11/2014)

      "Education Law: When to Call Outside Counsel," co-presented by Gregory R. Faulkner, Edward J. Heath, Nicole H. Najam and Kathleen E. Dion, presented to University of Hartford doctoral students in Doctorate in Education Leadership program (7/30/2014)

      "Careers in Construction Law," at University of Connecticut School of Law event in Hartford, Connecticut, presented by Gregory R. Faulkner, co-panelist (2/12/2014)

      "Career Beginnings Workshop," presented by Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Panelist at Career Beginnings workshop for Hartford area high school students; Career Beginnings is a joint venture of the MetroHartford Alliance and the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education. (2/9/2011)

      "The New Contract Documents and Integrated Project Delivery Documents from AIA and ConsensusDOCS," at Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers (HEREL) Conference, Austin, Texas, presented by Gregory R. Faulkner (10/1/2008)

      "Construction Law - Negotiating with Architects," at Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers (HEREL) Conference, Seattle, Washington, presented by Gregory R. Faulkner (9/27-28/2007)

      "Dealing with Contractors That File for Bankruptcy," at Higher Education Real Estate Lawyers (HEREL) Annual Conference, Yale University, presented by Gregory R. Faulkner (9/22/2005)

Our Team