Representing Fraternities and Sororities in Pennsylvania and Nationwide
Greek fraternal organizations face a variety of legal needs. They often need an attorney with a broad range of experience in issues like general criminal defense law, fraternity law, hazing law, free speech law, and university discipline processes. Berman & Associates has just that range of experience.
Attorney Bud Berman, Founder of Berman & Associates, has been standing up for Greek organizations for decades. Bud has served as General Counsel for a National Collegiate Fraternity, which is headquartered in Indianapolis and has over 70 undergraduate chapters around the United States, for more than 40 years. He provides representation and guidance for all fraternities’ and sororities’ needs including:
- Real estate
- Bylaws and member policies
- Personal injury liability
- Criminal (ie hazing defense)
- Constitutional / free speech defense
- Employment and vendor contracts
- Corporate structure
- Member discipline and expulsion
Based in Media, Pennsylvania, we appear in courts across the greater Philadelphia area. We also provide general counsel and legal advice to fraternities and sororities nationwide for non-court matters. Call 610-565-9696 or contact us online to discuss how we can help you.
Greek Organizations and Anti-Hazing Laws
Hazing of new members has gained national attention, with deaths recorded in several states, including Pennsylvania. Forty-four states have some form of anti-hazing law. The Pennsylvania hazing law makes forced or coercive physical, mental, or sexual brutality, or mandated alcohol or drug consumption for the purpose of obtaining membership in an organization a misdemeanor or felony, punishable with up to seven (7) years imprisonment. This complicated criminal statute has sections that apply to individuals, institutions, and organizations including fraternities and sororities. It also includes protections providing “safe harbors” for “good samaritans.” Organizational hazing can hold sororities and fraternities responsible for promoting or facilitating their members’ behavior, costing Greek organizations thousands of dollars for each offense.
At Berman & Associates, we understand the complex interplay between Greek organizations and their members, and are well-versed in a variety of anti-hazing defenses. We can assist your fraternity or sorority in defending against organizational hazing charges and advise chapters on how to discipline members who perpetuate the practice.
The Law Fraternities Need to Know
Sexual Assault Accusations
Sexual assault accusations on and near college campuses are creating increasing burdens on fraternity and other member organizations. Title IX investigations caused by a college student’s sexual assault accusation can trigger individual expulsion and disciplinary actions, and can threaten a fraternity or sorority’s accreditation or affiliation with their college or university. When these issues arise, Berman & Associates can provide legal advice and help chapters navigate the often-complex processes of a sexual assault investigation.
Noise Complaints and Serving Alcohol
Frat parties and other events can also lead to noise complaints and allegations that a Greek organization served alcohol to minors or visibly intoxicated people (called dram shop laws). When a party-goer’s intoxication results in a personal injury accident, the organization’s liability can come into question. Repeated noise complaints could also lead to nuisance lawsuits or zoning violations. Any of these can affect the Chapter House’s standing with the University and the city where it is located, and cost the organization more than its budget allows. When these matters arise, they call for the skills and experience that Berman & Associates can provide to review the complaints, investigate possible defenses, and respond to the claims of fraternity or sorority liability.