National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) - Law and Higher Education
The National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) was founded in 1960 by a group of attorneys who frequently handled cases involving colleges and universities; they also had the assistance of officials of the University of Michigan, the University of Alabama, Northwestern University, and several Ivy League institutions. National Association of College and University Attorneys, the premier organization in the field of higher education law, is currently composed of more than 3,600 members representing 700 nonprofit, accredited institutions of higher education located at 1,500 campuses in the United States, Canada, and abroad. Approximately two-thirds of National Association of College and University Attorneys members are public and private colleges and universities with student enrollment above 5,000 and annual expenditures between $50 million and $4 billion. The remaining one-third of the association’s members are private colleges and universities with student enrollment below 5,000 and annual expenditures below $50 million per year.
National Association of College and University Attorneys’s mission is to advance the effective practices of attorneys for the benefit of the colleges and universities they serve. Attorneys for institutions of higher education may encounter legal issues such as those surrounding student discipline, civil rights, animal rights, intellectual property, and employment. Therefore, NACUA offers its members a wide range of services that can help members identify, analyze, resolve, and prevent legal problems at institutions of higher education. The services that National Association of College and University Attorneys offers its members are rooted in the core values of quality, service, civility, collegiality, diversity, inclusiveness, and respect. The association seeks to assist officials on college and university campuses by educating and informing attorneys through publications, educational programs, and online resources.
NACUA publishes The Journal of College & University Law (JCUL) jointly with the University of Notre Dame School of Law as the only national journal focused exclusively on the law of higher education. Journal of College & University Law, which has been published since 1973 and has a circulation of approximately 3,800, provides information of interest to those involved with higher education law, including reflections on recent cases involving higher education, legislative updates, book reviews, papers from National Association of College and University Attorneys’s annual conference, and other articles of interest to college and university attorneys. Contributors to the publication include college and university counsel and education law specialists in the academic community. JCUL is published three times a year and is available electronically or in print to members of NACUA.
National Association of College and University Attorneys also publishes pamphlets, monographs, and compendia available for purchase that cover a broad range of topics that are of interest to higher education administrators, faculty, and legal counsel. Pamphlets and monographs are brief, concise reference guides that focus on specific topics of interest to administrators, faculty, and attorneys. Topics such as background checks for faculty, privacy acts, and sovereign immunity are examined in the NACUA pamphlets and monographs. Among the items compiled into compendia are general articles, public statements, law review articles, and information on government regulations. Topics of compendia include free speech issues, information for new attorneys in higher education, and academic freedom and tenure.
In addition to monographs, National Association of College and University Attorneys members have published books under its auspices; the organization’s Web site (www.nacua.org) provides information on these books. Titles such as Academic Freedom in the Wired World by Robert O’Neill; Computer and Internet Use on Campus: A Legal Guide to Issues of Intellectual Property, Free Speech, and Privacy by Constance S. Hawke; The Law of Higher Education by William A. Kaplin and Barbara A. Lee; and The Law of Higher Education: Cases and Materials on Colleges in Court by Michael Olivas are examples of books written by NACUA members. National Association of College and University Attorneys’s Web site also provides information and resources for using Kaplin and Lee’s The Law of Higher Education as a textbook in courses focused on higher education law.
Since 1960, NACUA has conducted an annual conference attended by college and university attorneys from around the United States and Canada. The conference focuses on current issues and legal developments in higher education law. Sessions at the conference examine broad topics in larger sessions, while small discussion sessions examine specific issues of importance to attorneys and their institutions. Topics such as student affairs, litigation strategies, technology, trademark licensing, and employment law as well as numerous others are examined throughout the four-day conference.
National Association of College and University Attorneys offers continuing legal education workshops in various locations around the country featuring experienced attorneys who provide participants with current legal information. In addition, these workshops offer the opportunity for attorneys from different institutions to share their challenges and concerns with one another. The topics of these workshops include faculty discipline, patent case law, animal research, terminating employees, discrimination issues, and academic freedom as well as other topics of current interest.
At the same time, National Association of College and University Attorneys offers interactive virtual seminars in which participants listen to presenters via telephone and other types of connections while viewing presentations online. These virtual seminars allow participants to “attend” the presentation without the need to spend time or expense on traveling. Participants at a site are charged one flat fee, regardless of the number of participants “attending” the seminar. Prior to the seminars, session handouts are delivered by mail or downloaded electronically for participants to review and use during the seminar. During sessions, participants are able to ask questions of presenters, to participate in live polling, and to examine other seminar participants’ responses. These seminars, which focus on topics of current interest such as examining new regulations, are designed for both attorneys and their clients.
NACUA provides its members with numerous online resources, including its Legal Reference Service. National Association of College and University Attorneys’s Web site and weekly e-mail newsletter, the Higher Education Case Highlights, offers members current information and recent developments on legal issues of interest to members. In addition, NACUA’s Legal Reference Service acts as a clearinghouse for information on topics of interest to college and university attorneys. This information is collected from members and other sources and is made available online. Documents such as legal policies and agreements, conference/workshop outlines, and articles published in Journal of College & University Law can be accessed through the Legal Reference Service. Members can search for information, or a member of the Legal Reference Service staff, which includes two law clerks, can conduct searches for members at no cost. While the Legal Reference Service does not provide legal advice, it can be a valuable resource when researching topics in higher education law.
The organization’s Web site also offers links to additional Web sites of interest to college and university attorneys, such as sites of federal courts, federal statutes and regulations, state courts, state statutes and regulations, other legal associations, legal search engines, and legal blogs. National Association of College and University Attorneys maintains an e-mail discussion list intended to facilitate communication among National Association of College and University Attorneys members. Known as NACUANET, this service is free to National Association of College and University Attorneys member attorneys and has over 2,100 members. Subscribers to this service can receive 10 to 20 messages per day on topics such as recent legislation, sample policies, legal briefs, relevant Web sites, administrative issues, and position announcements. Moreover, these messages are archived so that members can search from the over 40,000 messages contained in NACUA’s archive.
Carolyn L. Carlson
See also Education Law Association; U.S. Supreme Court Cases in Higher Education
Bickel, R. D., & Lake, P. F. (1999). The rights and responsibilities of the modern university: Who assumes the risk of college life? Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
Hawke, C. (2001). Computer and internet use on campus: A legal guide to issues of intellectual property, free speech, and privacy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Journal of College & University Law. http://www.nd.edu/~jcul
Kaplin, W. A., & Lee, B. A. (2006). The law of higher education: A comprehensive guide to legal implications of administrative decision making. (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
National Association of College and University Attorneys. http://www.nacua.org
Olivas, M. A. (2006). The law and higher education: Case materials on colleges in court (3rd ed.). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.
O’Neill, R. (2008). Academic freedom in the wired world: Political extremism, corporate power, and the university. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.