Our lawyers — who represent students accused of misconduct in Title IX disciplinary matters and code of conduct violations — devote a considerable amount of attention to the particulars of the proceedings themselves. Those legal issues involve advocating for clients’ rights throughout the disciplinary process, ensuring the transparency of the school’s investigation, impartiality of the decisionmakers, obtaining sufficient notice of charges, and thoroughly preparing for hearings.
However, underlying these battles and high-stakes legal work is a student whose life has undoubtedly been turned upside down.
Our team approaches each Title IX disciplinary matter not merely as a dispute; we fervently defend our clients while always being mindful of the myriad ways these proceedings can disrupt a student’s daily life and future prospects. Even if we ultimately achieve a positive result, it is imperative the fallout of these sensitive matters are anticipated and subsequently managed and resolved.
We think it’s important to see our Title IX clients as a whole and not just as a set of discrete legal issues that must be analyzed and resolved. To do our job correctly, we must take into account the student’s future education and career aspirations and opportunities. That holistic approach sets us apart from other firms.
Patricia Hamill, Co-Chair of the Title IX and Campus Discipline Practice
With a track record of representing over 300 students nationwide in disciplinary matters conducted by over 100 colleges and universities, we have unique insights on the challenges faced by students embroiled in a Title IX disciplinary matter. While the exact mix of additional support our clients require varies on a case-to-case basis, we can provide informed advice and counseling (and referrals to third-party professionals and consultants) in connection with many issues ancillary to the Title IX proceeding itself.
Campus Conduct Rules and Interim Measures
Sometimes, Title IX proceedings involves the imposition of “interim measures” on the accused student, which can include requirements to avoid contact with the complainant and other parties, changes to on-campus housing or class assignments, restrictions on campus activities, and prohibited forms of communication, including limitations on social media.
Our attorneys can assist in the negotiation of these arrangements to preserve the accused student’s quality of life on campus. Based on our experience dealing with more than 100 colleges, our firm is uniquely positioned to provide discerning advice about proposed conduct rules.
School Transfer Assistance
If a college’s final decision calls for a student’s suspension or expulsion — or if the student voluntarily determines continued attendance is impossible —our attorneys can provide guidance on the scope and content of the student’s disclosure statement in their applications to prospective transfer schools regarding the details about the disciplinary proceeding and the prior school’s final decision or sanction.
Applications for Readmission or Reinstatement
In the event a student has been suspended with the right to reapply for readmission or reinstatement, they are often required to demonstrate compliance with conditions of separation imposed as part of the suspension. These conditions can include completing a certain schedule of counseling or education sessions, substance abuse evaluation or treatment, or other similar conditions that pertain to the student’s rehabilitation. We work to ensure there are no unnecessary barriers to readmission and their reapplication materials are both accurate and effective so that the transition back to school proceeds is as smooth and successful as possible.
Disclosures to Future Educational Institutions, Professional Boards, or Employers
Clients who move onto graduate or professional schools, or enter the workforce, often seek our advice about the circumstances under which they need to disclose their past disciplinary record. We assist in helping students craft complete and accurate statements about their past campus discipline issues and any sanctions imposed. For our clients who eventually seek professional credentials in fields such as medicine, law, and accounting, we can also offer guidance about the scope of required disclosures to state professional certification boards as they relate to their prior discipline matters.
Academic Advisor Referrals
A client whose education is disrupted for interim or extended periods often requires professional advice regarding how to transfer to another school, preserve their academic credits, as well as repair (and explain) problems on their transcripts, including incomplete courses or class withdrawals.
We often refer clients to college counselors, academic advisors, and other professionals who work to best position them for continued education.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling Coordination
Sometimes, our Title IX clients have pre-existing mental health challenges or substance abuse problems that may have contributed to the incidents that are the subject of the disciplinary proceeding. Our attorneys also frequently help students who suffer from depression or anxiety because of their situation as a respondent in a proceeding.
Based on our experience in scores of disciplinary proceedings involving a student in some form of treatment, we are well-equipped to work closely and in coordination with healthcare professionals, counselors, and treatment programs/facilities.
Crisis Communication and Reputation Management Consulting
When it comes to the public eye, Title IX allegations can call character into question and spur unfounded assumptions, regardless of the outcome. We work closely with individuals who have experience in areas such as crisis preparedness and response, message development, reputation and position, as well as risk mitigation. By partnering with crisis communications and reputation management consultants, we can better ensure legal matters and reputation are being considered.
If you or a family member is facing a Title IX proceeding at a high school, college or university, get in touch with our Title IX attorneys to discuss your matter.