April 2018: Tenure Success at the University of South Dakota: After an extended battle over tenure and prior service credit, the Provost at the University of South Dakota refused to allow my client Professor Myanna Dellinger's tenure application to be considered on the merits, I filed a Motion for Declaratory Judgment in South Dakota state court asking the court to enforce Professor Dellinger's rights under her contract. As soon as the suit was filed, the University backed down, agreed to consider her tenure application on the merits, and then strongly recommended that she be granted tenure. It now appears virtually certain that she will be granted tenure by the USD Board of Regents later this spring. Read what Professor Dellinger had to say about my representation here. Read more about the case and our legal strategy here.
Unfortunately, as with any type of employer, sometimes disputes arise between institutions of higher education and the faculty members that they employ. If you believe your school is: discriminating against you, trying to force you to resign, threatening to terminate you without cause (or has already wrongfully terminated you), unfairly denying you tenure or promotion, or otherwise mistreating you or making your life miserable, it may help to have qualified legal representation in your corner. If you have been accused of misconduct and need to defend yourself, don't try to do it yourself.
As a former Adjunct, Visiting and Tenure-Track Law Professor at both private, public and for-profit institutions, and someone who is actively involved in higher education issues (as the Chair of the National Advisory Council for the non-profit Law School Transparency and a frequent blogger on The Faculty Lounge), I understand the issues that faculty members face, and I have recent experience representing faculty members in a variety of situations involving disputes with their higher education employer. Between August 2016 and May 2020, I have represented 11 professors, including 6 tenured professors, at 7 different institutions in 7 different states, including state universities, private not-for-profit universities, and for-profit schools. I have represented law school professors, undergraduate professors, even seminary professors.
I am a tough negotiator and I know how to deal with university administrators. Where desired, I have successfully negotiated several severance packages/buyouts on behalf of my clients. Although the terms of each individual settlement is subject to a non-disclosure agreement, terms have included significant cash settlements, paid sabbatical leaves, continuation of medical benefits and other favorable terms.
I also represent students in honor code or other University and college disciplinary or administrative proceedings. Are you or your son or daughter accused of cheating or plagiarism? Or perhaps accused of sexual assault or harassment of a fellow student? You could be facing, suspension or even expulsion. You need experienced representation to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you would like to discuss your situation or need representation, please contact me for a free initial consultation.
* I am licensed to practice in Florida and New Jersey only, so if litigation is required, I will likely be required to associate with local counsel admitted to practice in your state in order to continue representing you. Fortunately, most disputes can be settled or resolved without the need to resort to formal litigation.
Fleming IslAnd, Orange Park,FLorida
"I could not have done this without the excellent, tireless, and creative legal assistance not to mention very highly encouraging support of David Frakt, Esq."
Professor Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law
Actual e-mail from client, after a false complaint of cheating against her was dismissed by the University as a result of my representation:
You have done an amazing job representing me and taught me so much over the course of this case. You showed me what it means to be an outstanding attorney! Thank you for your professionalism, for always being available at any hour of any day, for working on the weekends, for your support and understanding! You are one of a kind and I am grateful you agreed to help me!
N.L. - Student at Florida A&M University Law School