Universities, colleges and other further and higher education institutions are amongst the most innovative, exciting and important contributors to society. We are proud to advise some of the world’s leading further and higher education institutions, and we have a deep understanding of the way they work, and their legal needs. As a global firm, we have particular expertise in advising on international programmes, and supporting further and higher education institutions on all their legal needs, whether in one or multiple .jurisdictions.
Strong schools, colleges and universities are essential not just for individuals, but to the wider economy and society. These crucial institutions need legal advisers with deep knowledge and experience, who speak their language and have the resources to assist with the most challenging of situations.
We have acted for schools, colleges and universities for many years. Our clients range from small independent schools with day-to-day legal needs, to major universities, sometimes operating globally and at the cutting edge of the law.
We understand not just the law and regulation that affects those in the education sector, but also the other requirements and expectations to which organisations are subject. These include public and regulatory attitudes to issues like safeguarding and freedom of speech, political and other developments that can present challenges, and associated reputational risks.
We know that those running schools, colleges and universities are under immense pressure given the importance of their work, the great regulatory burden and the potentially severe consequences for individuals and organisations when things go wrong. With the benefit of long experience, we can guide board members and senior staff through the legal web efficiently, pragmatically and without fuss, allowing them to focus on their own work and students.
Given our global presence, we are uniquely placed to advise schools, colleges and universities on their international projects, including setting up schools overseas and advising on international collaboration and funding. And as a full-service law firm, we can help with all your legal needs.
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Our areas of focus
Further and higher education institutions
We act for many schools, colleges and universities in relation to international fundraising. We advise on tax-efficient cross border giving, including helping you scope out a plan for expanding your alumni fundraising tax-efficiently on a global basis.
We pioneered the US-UK dual-qualified charitable structure and are the only firm able to handle all aspects of that structure in-house. We have a deep understanding of university development and alumni affairs and work closely with General Counsel and development professionals alike.
Independent schools in the UK
We have a leading UK independent schools practice, and long experience of working with some of the best-known institutions in the sector. With independent school governors and former teachers in our team, we speak schools’ language and understand the issues you face.
Independent schools are an essential part of school-age education in the UK and are diverse in their character and legal needs. We look to establish long term relationships with our schools clients, so we can really get to know you and provide advice that is tailored, efficient and pragmatic. The legal support that we provide is not commoditised, but bespoke and high quality, while at the same time representing excellent value for money.
Since advising the very first school that converted to an academy in 2003, we have worked with academy trusts, their sponsors and associated charities in helping them achieve their ambitions. Academy trusts are now a major part of the educational landscape in the UK, with many of the schools they operate being highly successful, innovative and significant institutions.
At Withers, we are uniquely well placed to advise those involved in education on their international projects. Our education practice is global, with major school, college, university and associated clients in Europe, the USA, Asia and elsewhere.
As a full service law firm with 16 offices spread across the globe, we can assist you with all you global legal needs, whether you are an international organisation or based in one country and looking to expand.
We advise education providers, philanthropists and investors on establishing and operating international schools and further and higher education institutions. By having experience on both sides of the table, rather than acting for just one type of client, we are able to offer a more rounded and insightful approach to legal advice.
Independent Reviews for schools, universities and colleges
As allegations of peer-on-peer abuse, bullying and harassment continue to loom large in the education sector, we know schools, universities and colleges face complex challenges. To address this, institutions are increasingly looking to authoritative, independent reviewers to scrutinise and advise on their arrangements.
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30 July 2021 - Article
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