Higher Education Governance, Tax & Endowment Management
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is unparalleled in the talent and expertise it can bring to bear in a wide array of governance and exempt organization tax issues and transactions that routinely emerge in the distinctive setting of higher education.
We’ve worked extensively with institutions’ and nonprofit organizations’ executive, audit and compensation committees, as well as their inside counsel, in developing board committee charters and specialized by-laws, conflict of interest policies and reporting requirements, compensation protocols to ensure safe harbor treatment under the federal Intermediate Sanctions laws, whistleblower and record retention policies, as well as ancillary joint venture policies, and risk management initiatives and procedures and compliance programs relating to applicable open meeting laws.
We understand that the tax-exempt, highly-regulated and tripartite mission of modern research universities (education, research and patient care) coupled with centuries-old traditions of academia, accounts for the distinctive governance, finance, management and business operations models seen in such institutions. Decentralization of administrative and academic authority, highly consultative decision-making processes, sometimes-fraught relationships with municipal and state governments, and occasional federal inconsistency in its understanding of the appropriate “quid pro quo” for higher educational institutions’ tax-exempt status, all add to the governance, finance and operational complexities of universities and colleges.
BCLP has represented universities in matters such as international partnerships, joint ventures and alliances, whether limited to research collaborations or overseas campus development projects, and with respect to all tax planning, “doing business” and employee relations or benefits issues arising from overseas and cross-border operations.
BCLP attorneys also often work with donors and universities and other nonprofit organizations to accomplish charitable gift planning goals through charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, donor advised funds, endowed funds or some combination of these. Each plan is developed to accomplish the goals for both the donor and done organizations in and efficient and effective manner and as part of the donor’s overall estate or multi-generation wealth migration planning.