The lawyers on our dedicated Title IX team help clients at educational institutions understand, address, and comply with the laws that prohibit sex discrimination. We combine extensive, practical experience with Title IX with an approach that is sensitive to the needs of students, faculty, and the communities surrounding higher educational institutions as well as an understanding of local, state, and national politics.
Our team provides multifaceted guidance to clients—from developing compliance policies and providing hands-on assistance with implementation to facilitating a response to allegations of misconduct and litigation.
Policy Audits and Development
We review internal operating procedures and help clients coordinate a practical, compliant, coordinated strategy. We develop needs assessment questionnaires, investigative manuals, internal procedural checklists, template forms, and training manuals. We have experience conducting comprehensive reviews of Title IX programs and providing meaningful recommendations to administrators seeking to ensure compliance with Title IX and related laws, such as the Clery Act. In conducting program reviews, we engage with campus constituents to understand and identify potential gaps in Title IX compliance. We work with campus stakeholders— including sexual misconduct task forces—to ensure that best practices are implemented in campus policies, procedures, and programming.
We advise college athletic departments on matters involving NCAA eligibility and compliance and Title IX. We evaluate programs to ensure compliance with the three-part test, students’ interests and abilities, athletic benefits and opportunities, and athletic financial assistance. Our attorneys have experience conducting on-site reviews of gender equity issues. In addition, we guide educational institutions on the use of surveys to comply with Title IX obligations and in navigating investigations and negotiating settlements. In the event that issues of sexual misconduct arise in an institution’s athletics programs, we also have deep experience in ensuring a prompt, effective response that addresses obligations under Title IX, respects the importance of a healthy and unified educational community, and minimizes reputational risk.
Sexual Misconduct and Harassment
Schools are responsible for the prevention, investigation, evaluation, and adjudication of harassment allegations on campus—from bullying and harassment to sexual violence. Our team has particular experience with Title IX compliance and training, including the education of Title IX coordinators. If an allegation of sexual misconduct occurs, we guide clients through all stages of the process, from reviewing claims and spearheading an investigation through advising on interim remedies, disciplinary measures, and due process for those accused.
Our attorneys have experience conducting trauma-informed investigations of campus sexual misconduct claims and know how to carefully balance the interests of the accuser with the due process and fundamental fairness concerns of the accused. Our team regularly conducts internal investigations of sexual misconduct and other discrimination claims involving students, faculty, administrators, and third parties. We are experienced in conducting witness interviews, evaluating evidence, assessing credibility, and applying relevant policies and procedures at all stages of the investigative process.
Sex discrimination claims sometimes include related allegations of racial and disability discrimination. Schools across the country regularly call on our team to evaluate and deliver training programs, identify potential areas of risk, and establish procedures that prevent and address discrimination. We counsel clients on physical and website accessibility issues involving compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 mandates and we help schools navigate the various laws governing the presence of service animals on campus. We also are uniquely positioned to guide schools through Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations, including complaints filed under Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, the ADA, and the Age Act.