Mike Goldstein

Mike Goldstein

Senior Counsel, Cooley LLP

Mike Goldstein is a partner in the Cooley Business department and co-chair of the Firm’s Higher Education practice group. He was the  founder and co-chair of the Higher Education industry practice at Dow Lohnes, which merged with Cooley in 2014. He is resident in the Washington, DC office.

Mr. Goldstein leads a group of  lawyers and professionals with long experience and deep expertise in serving clients in the postsecondary sector, including public, independent and for-profit institutions, national, state and regional organizations, institutional and professional accrediting commissions, courseware developers, service providers, lenders and many of the private equity groups active in the field.

Mr. Goldstein has been a pioneer in the development and rational regulation of higher education in general and online learning in particular, and in the creation of innovative approaches to combining the resources and interests of the non-profit, public and for-profit postsecondary communities. He has served on numerous panels and committees on a variety of higher education issues, including as an expert member of the UNESCO-CHEA Task Force on Degree Mills and as a member of the National Advisory Panel for the enactment of the State Authorization Reciprocity Act. He has long served as General Counsel to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) as well as in the past as general counsel to other higher education organizations, including the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). He is the author of the chapter on Legal Issues in the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning as well as many papers and chapters in professional journals and publications and is a frequent speaker at higher education conferences.

In 2015, Mr. Goldstein received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Fielding Graduate University. He was honored with the WICHE Cooperative Educational Technologies (WCET) Richard Jonsen Award in 2014, which is given annually to a WCET member whose career has been committed to improving postsecondary educational programs and services through innovative uses of technology. Mr. Goldstein has been named in Best Lawyers in America for Education Law and recognized in Washington, DC Super Lawyers for Schools and Education.

Prior to joining Dow Lohnes, he was Assistant City Administrator and Director of University Relations in the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, and then served Associate Vice Chancellor for Urban and Governmental Affairs and Associate Professor of Urban Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


  • New York University School of Law
    JD, 1967
  • Fielding Graduate University
    DHL, 2015
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
    FELLOW, 1972
  • Cornell University
    BA, 1964

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • New York


  • American Bar Association – Past Chair – Education Law Committee
  • American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, Director
  • Cleveland Park Historical Society, Director
  • Federal Bar Association, Past Co Chair – Education Grants Committee
  • Friendship Fire Association, District of Columbia Fire and EMS, Dir. & Past Pres.
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys, Past Chair – Committee on Legal Education
  • The Fielding Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA – Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • The Washington Ballet, Director and General Counsel
  • The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, Director

Awards & Rankings

  • Named in Best Lawyers in America for Education Law
  • Recognized in Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers for Schools and Education

A3. Accreditation Unchained

Salon 12

Historically, accrediting agencies have been viewed as guardians of the status quo, a natural consequence of the premise that accreditation represents assurance that an institution or program meets “generally accepted” standards of quality and integrity.  In recent years, the rapid evolution of teaching and learning, the nature of learners and the competitive environment of post […]

Academic Affairs