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Protecting the Rights and Interests of College and University Students
- Case Results
- List of Schools
Here are some representative results we’ve achieved for our clients.
Female complainant’s rights, health, and safety protected throughout lengthy proceedings
Our client was sexually assaulted by a male student acquaintance. We became involved to support our client in getting proper medical treatment, preserving and collecting evidence and witness testimony, and securing therapeutic support. We helped her understand and navigate the many complex options available to her, including a criminal complaint, an informal complaint process, a formal complaint process, or doing nothing. We guided her through the informal process and then the formal process, including interviews with various school and law enforcement officials, and worked closely with the school to put in place appropriate accommodations ensuring that all interviews and hearings did not retraumatize her. The male student was found responsible and was expelled.
Large private university
Witness to sexual violence protected from intimidation
We represented a female witness to a dating violence case on campus who was being pressured to speak with the police and the school investigators about a violent matter she had witnessed on her dorm floor. We immediately communicated on her behalf to the local police, school administrators, and the Title IX investigators to protect her right to choose to not testify and ensure her safety on campus. She was very relieved not to be pressured by the school, the title IX office or the police to attend the hearing and testify about fellow students.
Small private college
Investigation of sexual assault complaint concludes with no charges filed
Our client contacted us immediately upon receiving notice by his school that a claim of sexual assault was made against him by a female student. We assisted him in preparing his detailed answer to the complaint, and then prepared him and accompanied him to his interview with the campus safety police officers. We worked with the school Title IX administrators and helped our client find evidence to show inconsistencies with the complaint. The complainant withdrew her complaint when presented with these inconsistencies and then recanted. The investigation ended and our client was not charged with anything.
Midsized private collegeSee More Case Results
I was introduced to Attorney Duffy by my criminal defense attorney because I was fighting both a criminal charge and a conduct code violations charge. Felice's office responded right away and she and I met by Zoom video. She and her team were respectful, professional and super knowledgeable. They made everything clear and easily understandable. They knew exactly what questions to ask the school officials to get them to focus on the facts that supported my case. I was incredibly well prepared. I knew what I was going to say before I went in to my interviews and how to react to the many questions that would have tripped me up. I got probation, which was definitely the best possible outcome and I couldn’t have gotten that without Attorney Duffy’s help.
“When your kid is accused of a serious conduct code violation at his college, you quickly learn that there’s a whole different set of rules in place than in the real world. There are no legal standards, no assurances of a “fair trial.” You're presumed guilty and you have to backtrack and prove why you’re NOT guilty. We pretty quickly realized that we needed strong legal representation and guidance. Our son was completely falsely accused and we were ready to dig in to clear his name.
Felice's truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. She made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). She worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right person in his corner to defend him. Felice gave our whole family a sense a calm and confidence.
Thanks to incredibly hard work by Felice and her team, our son was found “not responsible” (meaning innocent of any wrongdoing). The outcome was everything we could have hoped for.
I have already recommended Felice to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend her to any student or parent without reservation.”
Parent of a private college senior
“I selected the firm after doing extensive research trying to locate an attorney that specializes in sexual assault cases on university campuses. Late one night I emailed her for a consult just to see what she had to say. By 6:30am the next morning she had already emailed me back leaving her information for me to call her. I was impressed by her promptness and early morning response. Our criminal attorney informed our family that this simply wasn’t his specialty and strongly recommended we hire someone who really understood how university disciplinary systems work.
In our culture, we are not often trusting and it took a huge step of faith to consider someone we didn’t know (much less one from out of state) to defend our son.
Based on her collegiate athletic background I felt that she would have a better understanding of our case as our son is a D1 athlete. Based on that and her professional accomplishments I felt like she was driven and determined and she clearly had the ability to understand the laws associated with Title IX.
Bottom line is that our son was found 100% not responsible (meaning not guilty) of the extremely serious charges that were brought against him by a female student.
Felice Duffy and her team were professional, focused, responsive and did a great job throughout the entire stressful ordeal. When we think about how badly and unfairly our son might have been treated by the school, we truly count our blessings that we found Ms. Duffy.”
Parent of a College Sophomore, OhioSee More Client Testimonials
Schools Where We've Handled Cases
Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:
- Amherst College
- Arkansas State University
- Bowling Green State University
- Charter Oak State College
- Colgate University
- College of the Holy Cross
- Columbia University
- Connecticut College
- Dartmouth College
- Fairfield University
- Flagler College
- Florida State University
- Guilford College
- Howard University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- Indiana University
- Lesley University
- Marist College
- Marquette University
- Miami University
- Mississippi University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Plymouth State University
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rice University
- Sacred Heart University
- South Carolina State University
- St. John's University
- St. Lawrence University
- Syracuse University
- Swarthmore College
- Tallahassee Comm. College
- Touro University
- Trinity College
- Tufts University
- University of Connecticut
- University of Kansas
- University of Mass. Med. School
- University of Miami
- University of Missouri
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Texas
- University of Virginia
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- Utah University School of Medicine
- Vassar College
- Virginia Wesleyan University
- Washington University, St. Louis
- Wesleyan University
- Westfield State University
- Western Washington University
- Wheaton College
- Yale University
College should provide excitement for young adults—they go off on their own, get to make their own decisions, and have their entire lives ahead of them. However, a variety of legal issues can quickly derail the college experience. Many of these legal matters are unique to college students and governed by complex, ever-changing federal laws. If you or your college student is facing a legal problem, please do not hesitate to call the lawyers at Duffy Law, who have years of experience in representing college students.
College Code Violations
Every public and private college and university in the United States has a code of conduct. While these codes may differ in the details, one thing remains the same—a college code violation can put your higher education—and your future—in jeopardy. These codes cover hundreds of possible violations, but some of the more common acts that get college students in trouble include:
- Underage drinking
- Drug possession
- Sexual misconduct
- Academic violations
In many cases, college students may not even know they violated a rule. For example, most students understand that plagiarism is against the academic code, but they may not realize that self-plagiarism can have the same consequences. Students may believe they can harmlessly use ideas or material from a previous paper they wrote, and suddenly they are facing failing grades—or worse, marks on their academic records.
If your school accuses you of a code of conduct violation, you may need to attend a disciplinary hearing. The results of this hearing can determine your future path, and you need to ensure that you know how to best protect your rights. You need the advice of an experienced college code defense attorney who understands how disciplinary proceedings work at colleges and universities. We regularly advise students to help them avoid wrongful violations or overly harsh consequences.
Experienced Title IX Attorney
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is one of the most complicated and, perhaps, misunderstood federal laws. In short, Title IX protects students, faculty, coaches, and other employees at publicly funded schools from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender. This law applies to the large majority of colleges and universities in the United States, as well as to the students at these institutions.
Many issues can arise under Title IX, including:
- Unequal athletic opportunities for men and women
- Unequal access to facilities or educational programs
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual assault
- A school’s failure to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct
- Discrimination in any other school-related group or program
Title IX governs many issues in America’s universities, but recent years have seen this law applied, with great publicity, to campus sexual misconduct. In these cases, the alleged victims of the sexual misconduct should receive the necessary protection to continue their educations, including changing schedules, housing, and more. They also deserve a fair investigation into the allegations, as well as proper disciplinary action against the accused if a school determines the misconduct occurred.
On the other hand, a student accused of sexual misconduct also has the constitutional right to due process before the school takes any disciplinary action. The Department of Education recently released new guidance instructing schools to ensure their procedures for sexual assault investigations and hearings sufficiently protect the rights of all students involved.
Not many attorneys fully understand the complex web of laws, guidance, and rules involved in Title IX cases. If you believe your school violated your Title IX rights in any way, you need an attorney with extensive experience handling this type of case. Call Duffy Law for a consultation today.
Not only can misconduct get college students in trouble with their institutions, but some acts also violate state law. Colleges or crime victims may report criminal acts to local authorities—and suddenly a student can face arrest and serious criminal charges. In many situations, a criminal case can take place at the same time as a college disciplinary hearing.
Students in this position must seek qualified legal representation from an attorney who can handle both the college disciplinary case and the case in criminal court. Never take any criminal charge lightly—even if it seems relatively minor. Even a state misdemeanor conviction can result in costly fines, probation, or time in jail. Criminal convictions on your record can leave lasting consequences, as they can affect your future employment and educational opportunities. You may become ineligible for collegiate athletics, may lose scholarships and financial aid, and may even get expelled from your school.
At Duffy Law, we regularly defend college students against an array of criminal charges in Connecticut, including:
- Underage alcohol possession
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Marijuana or narcotic possession
- Possession of pharmaceutical drugs
- Domestic assault
- Sexual assault
Criminal courts do not view criminal acts by young people as careless mistakes. College students are old enough that the law will treat them like any other adult facing criminal charges—and they can receive the same harsh penalties. After an arrest, every student needs aggressive defense representation.
Discuss Your Legal Matter With a Lawyer Who Knows How to Represent College Students
The team of lawyers at Duffy Law knows how hard it is for a legal matter to disrupt your college experience. You should focus on your educational success and your future—not on defending against misconduct allegations. We also know that each of these legal matters carries serious consequences, and we are here to help college students in this position.
Did your school accuse you of a code of conduct violation?
Did another student accuse you of sexual misconduct?
Were you the victim of sexual harassment, assault, or discrimination on campus?
Do you feel your school violated your rights to equal opportunities based on your gender?
Are you facing criminal charges?
If you answered Yes to any of these questions, please call Duffy Law at (203) 946-2000 or contact us online to discuss your situation and a possible case today.
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