Home > News & Events > Thompson Coburn Expands Its Leading Higher Education Practice with Addition of Lateral Partner Group

Thompson Coburn Expands Its Leading Higher Education Practice with Addition of Lateral Partner Group

April 8, 2024

Firm to open Birmingham location in connection with the arrival of Tres Cleveland, Brandt Hill, Evan Moltz and Roger Swartzwelder

Thompson Coburn announced today that it has bolstered its nationally recognized Higher Education practice with the addition of four partners. Experienced litigators Tres Cleveland, Brandt Hill and Evan Moltz will join the firm’s newly created Birmingham, Alabama office, and Roger Swartzwelder, a higher education regulatory and transactional attorney, will join the Washington, D.C. office. All four were previously shareholders at Maynard Nexsen.

“We could not be more excited to welcome such deeply experienced lawyers to our already robust Higher Education practice group,” said Thompson Coburn Chair Roman Wuller. “Our clients will benefit immediately from the decades of combined litigation experience and industry knowledge of this top-tier team of lawyers. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for Thompson Coburn to expand organically into a new geographic market with the addition of an office in the Southeast.”

Cleveland, who served as chair of the education practice at his previous firm, has successfully represented educational institutions, third-party servicers and financial investors in dozens of reported cases in courts throughout the country. His experience litigating education-related matters is broad, and includes cases involving the False Claims Act, Title IX, ADA Accreditation, as well as federal and state program reviews, State Attorneys General enforcement actions, student fraud and educational malpractice claims, employment discrimination, real estate and vendor contract disputes, arbitration enforcement and more.

“Thompson Coburn has long been a leader in the education space, and Roger, Brandt, Evan and I are looking forward to this next chapter as we grow our practice on a full-service, national platform,” said Cleveland. “We were attracted by the deep bench of talent at the firm and leadership’s commitment to expanding the Higher Education practice, as evidenced by their opening of an office in Birmingham to support our existing and prospective clients.”

Brandt Hill defends educational institutions in student and employment litigation and arbitration. He routinely advises schools on regulatory issues involving the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Education Act. He is also an experienced appellate lawyer, having advised clients in civil appeals on topics ranging from dietary supplements to life insurance to governmental immunity.

Roger Swartzwelder represents institutions of higher education in a wide array of regulatory, accreditation and operational issues. Prior to joining Maynard Nexsen, he served nearly 14 years as general counsel and chief compliance officer for a multi-state system of colleges. Swartzwelder also previously worked at a nationally recognized accrediting agency for more than 13 years, eight of which he served as both the Associate Executive Director and Associate Executive Director/In-House Counsel.

Evan Moltz has more than 10 years of trial experience and has served as defense counsel in trials in federal and state court, handling education litigation as well as business disputes, product liability, mass tort and toxic tort, and other complex litigation.

“Bringing on this team and expanding into Birmingham is a significant next step for Thompson Coburn and the Higher Education practice, and we are taking it because of this extraordinary group of lawyers who share our culture and strategic vision,” said Aaron Lacey, chair of Thompson Coburn’s Higher Education practice. “Combined with our existing regulatory, transactional and lobbying experience, the addition of the group’s litigation strength will allow us to further enhance our services to our higher education clients nationwide. This is especially important at a time when the higher ed industry is facing a lot of change, and we are now in an even better position to guide those clients through challenging situations.”