Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (HSE), a full-service business law firm with offices throughout New York, announced the expansion of its Higher Education practice to include consulting services. The consulting services will be led by Daan Braveman, President Emeritus of Nazareth College, who has joined the firm as Senior Higher Education Counsel.
The HSE Higher Education team has been counseling and representing colleges and universities for decades on the full range of legal and operational matters. The firm’s Higher Education team now offers clients legal acumen and lived leadership experiences within academe that will be leveraged to serve higher education institutions in their quest for innovative solutions to the challenges they face.
In his new role, Braveman will consult with and advise college and university leaders, administrators, and trustees to help them proactively address and plan for the wave of challenging issues confronting campuses in both the near-and-long-term. Addressing these challenges will call upon Braveman’s capabilities in key areas, including alternative finance; campus culture and human capital; crisis planning and management; diversity, equity, and inclusion; mergers, acquisitions, closures, and strategic alliances; risk management; and strategic planning and communications, among others.
“Over the next decade, institutions of every size, composition and location are facing major challenges, many of which existed before the coronavirus pandemic and most of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Braveman said. “Higher education needs to rethink itself. As a faculty member, administrator and college president, I lived through what schools are dealing with, and I can bring that firsthand perspective to campuses across the country.”
Braveman spent 43 years in higher education as a professor and leader, including the last 15 years as President of Nazareth, an independent college in Rochester with 2100 undergraduate and 800 graduate students. Under Braveman’s leadership, Nazareth experienced increased retention, enhanced academic reputation, and a growth in endowment and enrollment, before his retirement in June. He also established the Center for Civic Engagement, a nationally-recognized program designed to prepare students to become active members in the community; conducted a comprehensive effectiveness review of all academic and administrative programs; developed a nationally-recognized Center for Life’s Work, a ground-breaking career development program; led strategic alliance discussions; developed and implemented academic and operational strategic plans; established a division of Community and Belonging to initiate and support on-campus diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies, discussions, and initiatives; and initiated and completed a crisis management and communication plan.
Prior to joining Nazareth, Braveman spent 28 years at Syracuse University College of Law, including eight years as Dean. At Syracuse, he also served as an Associate Professor, Professor, and Associate Dean. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester and earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
“Daan brings a wealth of knowledge to our firm, with his lived experience as a college president and administrator distinguishing his approach and the value of his guidance. He has a deep understanding of the essential mission of higher education and the disruptive forces testing that mission.” said Theresa A. Conroy, partner and head of the Higher Education practice at Harter Secrest & Emery, and a former faculty member and administrator at the State University of New York College at Brockport. “As a sector, higher education is staring down a vortex of change, not unlike what the healthcare industry went through a few years ago. Institutions of higher education and their leadership need attorneys and consultants who understand the culture of and trends within higher education and the need for viable solutions, now.”
Braveman and Conroy agree that collaboration is a key component to colleges and universities successfully facing challenges head on, in readiness for the new future.
“Over the past several months, as the pandemic put an unexpected grip on every aspect of life, schools have necessarily moved from silos toward collaboration and partnerships,” Braveman said. “You’re seeing schools communicate and work together as they begin to reopen their campuses. That should continue. Shared services present an opportunity for schools to align and still provide high quality services to students, which is their ultimate mission.”
Braveman said his affiliation with Harter Secrest & Emery was born out of years of working with HSE during his tenure at Nazareth.
“I worked with Terri and the firm for several years and was always impressed with the high quality of the work and the character of the attorneys,” he said. “Just as important as their command of the law, they were a true partner with us at Nazareth, keeping us informed of important issues as they developed and recommending proactive and practical approaches to our work. That’s the same approach and mindset that I want to bring to my colleagues across the higher education spectrum.”
Braveman is a national leader in higher education as well as locally. He is former board member and former president of the New American Colleges and Universities, a national consortium of colleges and universities, and a former board member for Campus Compact of New York and Pennsylvania, an organization of over 100 colleges and universities in New York and Pennsylvania.
With the firm’s deep roots in higher education and a core belief that higher education is essential, the team understands that successful solutions must be designed to meet the needs of those served by higher education. The team guides higher education clients in the creation of mission- and value-driven solutions that promote institutional vibrancy and viability, academic excellence, and meaningful experiences for students, faculty, staff, and the communities in which the institutions are located.