Judith R. Sizer is a career higher education lawyer. She has worked in-house at two universities and represented higher education institutions at two Boston law firms and her own practice. During the last eight years, she has assisted over ten institutions with merger and affiliation negotiations and discussions, including Wheelock College, Marlboro College and Andover Newton Theological School.
As of the fall of 2023, Ms. Sizer’s practice is exclusively focused on academic affiliation projects, public advocacy, and pro bono services. She no longer engages in day-to-day generalist higher education work. Ms. Sizer’s law practice is limited to charitable organizations; she does not represent individuals or for-profit concerns.
Ms. Sizer is licensed in Massachusetts, and has represented clients in other states only in a consultant role or as a member of a team that includes lawyers licensed in the client’s home jurisdiction.
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.
Law Office of Judith R. Sizer, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Solo Practitioner, 2021 - present
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), 1992-2023
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, 2023, 2022, 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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