Judith R. Sizer entered law school in 1984 with the goal of becoming a university lawyer. Since then, she has worked in-house at two universities and practiced higher education law at two law firms. During the last five years, she has assisted over ten institutions with merger and affiliation negotiations and discussions.
Ms. Sizer’s solo law practice, established as of January 1, 2021, is designed to serve the interests of small private non-profit colleges. As an experienced higher education generalist, she handles matters within her expertise, including advice on mergers, acquisitions and affiliations, regulatory compliance, board governance, contract review and negotiation, endowments and charitable gifts, and policy work. She currently serves as outside general counsel to two Boston-area private colleges.
To support and assist her clients, Ms. Sizer maintains a robust referral network of attorney colleagues in areas such as employment, litigation, intellectual property, charities law, corporate finance, federal compliance issues, and other specialized practice areas.
Ms. Sizer is licensed in Massachusetts, and has represented clients in other states in a consultant role or as a member of a team that includes lawyers licensed in the client’s home jurisdiction. Ms. Sizer’s law practice is limited to charitable organizations; she does not represent individuals or for-profit concerns.
Ms. Sizer belongs to a family of teachers, professors and other creative thinkers. Her late father, Theodore R. Sizer, was an energetic proponent of progressive secondary school reform.
Rose Law Partners, LLP, Boston, Massachusetts
Partner, 2019 – 2020
Senior Counsel, 2014 – 2019
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
Senior Vice President/General Counsel, 2000 - 2013
Deputy/Associate/Assistant General Counsel, 1992 - 2000
Ropes & Gray, Boston, Massachusetts
Associate, Tax and Benefits Departments, 1988 - 1992
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Assistant to the General Counsel, 1987 - 1988
Assistant to the President (A. Bartlett Giamatti), 1983 - 1984
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, J.D. cum laude, 1987
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, B.A. magna cum laude, 1981
Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, Diploma cum laude, 1977
Bar Admissions, Memberships and Recognition
Admitted, Massachusetts Bar, 1987; First Circuit, 1989; United States Supreme Court, 2000
Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), 1992-present
Member, Boston Bar Association (BBA), 1987-present; Member, Advisory Committee, Higher Education Legal Conference, 2020 and 2017; Member, Steering Committee, Tax-Exempt Organizations Committee, 2014-2018; Member, Chapter 180 Task Force, 1999-2005; Chair, College and University Law Section, 1994-1998
Massachusetts SuperLawyer Designation, Schools & Education, 2020, 2019
Selected Speaking Engagements
Boston Bar Association (BBA) Higher Education Conference, July 2020 (“Legislative and Regulatory Developments for Private Colleges in Massachusetts”)
BBA College and University Law Section, April 2019 (“Higher Ed Mergers: Tips and Lessons Learned”)
Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, April 2019 (“Institutions in Financial Distress”), April 2019
BBA Higher Education Conference, March 2019 (“Financial Challenges for Higher Ed – Mergers, Acquisitions and Closures”)
Inside Higher Education Conference, April 2018 (“Joining Forces: Merger and Collaboration Strategies”)
BBA Higher Education Conference, March 2017 (“Mergers and Consolidations”)
As higher education begins to emerge from the pandemic, college institutions are becoming painfully reacquainted with their prior challenges. For many of them, the enrollment trends have been in a steady decline for years, which the pandemic only accelerated. Without the supplemental federal funding, their budget deficits have widened significantly.
Massachusetts is at the cutting edge of college closure regulation in the United States. Our state higher education agency, the state Attorney General’s office, and the regional accreditation agency have actively collaborated to identify struggling colleges and to work with schools to minimize the negative impact on students and other stakeholders.
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