BackFirm News

Experienced Education Attorney Raymond D. Cotton
Joins Nelson Mullins in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 22, 2017)–Experienced higher education attorney Raymond D. Cotton has joined the School and College Law team at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP as a partner in its Washington, DC office. Mr. Cotton has more than 25 years in practice and has represented dozens of university boards of trustees, college presidents, and other nonprofit executives during that time.

Mr. Cotton provides counsel on such matters as presidential contracts, executive compensation, performance evaluation, goal-setting, current and deferred compensation, Intermediate Sanctions, Sarbanes-Oxley, and best practices for managing nonprofit institutions. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at both the School of Law and the School of Medicine at George Washington University and Harvard University’s School of Public Health. In addition, he has lectured at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), UCLA, Yale, and many others.

“Ray is a well-known attorney and compensation consultant in the higher education community. We are excited he has chosen to bring his considerable skills and years of experience to Nelson Mullins,” said D. Glenn Brock, leader of the School and College Law team. ”Ray’s experience is a nice complement to both our education group based in Atlanta as well as our EducationCounsel subsidiary in Washington, DC.”

The 17-member School and College Law team provides legal services to public school districts, colleges and universities, and private education service vendors in an array of matters. Team members have represented more than 350 university and nonprofit boards, as well as university presidents and executives, and have represented private educational entities, such as charter management organizations and support service providers. 

Nelson Mullins also houses EducationCounsel LLC, a mission-based education consulting firm that combines experience in policy, strategy, law, and advocacy to drive improvements in the U.S. education system. Former Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley (1993-2001), a partner in the law firm, co-founded the group.

Mr. Cotton frequently speaks before various higher education associations, regularly contributes to the Chronicle of Higher Education, and is frequently quoted by Inside Higher Ed. Before entering private practice, he served as special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He is a longstanding member of the Federal Bar Association and the Supreme Court Historical Society.  

He earned his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from Monmouth College, where he later served on the Board of Trustees. He also earned a Master’s Degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Established in 1897, Nelson Mullins has more than 500 attorneys and other professionals with offices in Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. For more information on the Firm, go to

For additional information, contact Jan Easterling, Nelson Mullins Communications Coordinator, at 800.237.2000, ext. 9794.

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