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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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The Value of Bringing in an Outside Consultant on an Existing Title IX Case

A Title IX case is a tense affair. Both the complainant and the respondent face challenges to their veracity and integrity, and both sides have much to lose emotionally and in terms of their future. The best attorneys who deal with Title IX cases recognize the importance of every aspect of the proceedings and devote all their resources to supporting their clients.

But no one can be an expert at everything, and effective attorneys recognize this. That is why they often choose to bring in consultants who can help them achieve clients’ goals. While the benefits of consulting an expert witness or other professional in a Title IX case will vary according to circumstances, here are some general observations about the value of an outside consultant.

Neutral or Focused

An outside consultant can be dedicated to remaining neutral and unbiased or could be someone expected to focus on finding facts and arguments to support one side of the case. A consultant dedicated to neutrality can often gain access and cooperation more readily during an investigation, and this can enable a consultant to gather more information. This information should also be considered more credible by those within the case as well as anyone looking at the outcome on review. 

Using a consultant as a fact-finder can be beneficial whether the consultant is neutral or focused on one party’s case, but it is important to make the decision about the consultant’s role at the start to gain the most value from their efforts.

Experience with Strategies

Even attorneys who focus their practice on students’ rights do not have experience with every situation and every strategy that can be used in a Title IX case. A useful outside consultant will have seen different institutional strategies in action. Combining the consultant’s knowledge base with the experience of the counsel currently working on the case can lead to synergies that enable them to anticipate and prepare for a wide range of potential actions. This in turn can significantly impact the results in the case.

Ideas for Fact Gathering

An outside consultant not only brings a different range of experience to the case but also a new perspective. That can enable the consultant to consider new sources to explore for fact-finding, including different witnesses. 

Someone looking at a case for the first time may also be more likely to notice aspects that don’t add up or missing information that should be sought out. A fresh set of eyes can prove useful in any situation, particularly in one as fast-paced and intense as a Title IX case.

Knowledge of Institutional Practices

While every school has a slightly different way of processing Title IX cases and handling all types of related issues, certain patterns emerge. An outside consultant may have knowledge of the procedures used by an institution that proves invaluable when investigating a case or defining arguments. For instance, a consultant might know the details of how procedures are typically followed when different types of accusations are raised. This can make it easier to discern whether the school followed normal procedures or deviated for some reason such as bias.

In some cases, it may be worth seeking out a consultant with experience at a particular institution. This specialized experience could make a significant difference in managing the case.

Novel Perspective on Bias

When a team has been working closely on a case, they may take many aspects for granted that really should provide cause for consideration. An outside consultant may be able to spot instances of potential bias or other wrongs that should be explored factually and argumentatively.

New Theories About Interpretation and Implementation of Title IX Protections

One of the ways an outside consultant can prove most helpful in an existing Title IX case is to use their experience with cases and regulatory guidance to apply different theories and develop new arguments to support a client’s position. Title IX implementation has evolved into a complex and fast-changing area of law. Attorneys who focus on this area of law often forge new paths of interpretation and analysis. 

Useful Credentials

An outside consultant might have a background, training, or credentials to qualify them to serve as an expert witness. In a campus proceeding, it is becoming increasingly common for expert testimony to be allowed. However, if a Title IX case goes to court, expert testimony could be the deciding factor that proves a particular point in a case.

A Title IX Attorney Can Serve as a Consultant or Help Locate the Right Consultant

Very often, an attorney experienced in handling Title IX cases on campus, in administrative proceedings, and in federal court can provide invaluable service when brought in as a consultant in an existing case. Frequently, an attorney will be familiar with procedural issues and can provide insight into the school’s handling of a case. 

Knowledgeable Title IX advocates also know the nuanced details of the law and regulatory effects and can help devise new arguments and refine existing prongs of a case. A seasoned Title IX representative can also help locate experts in related areas who can provide information or assess facts from an additional perspective.

Learn More About the Ways an Outside Consultant Can Strengthen an Existing Title IX Case

At Duffy Law, our team focuses our energies on Title IX and related issues to protect the rights of those who are at risk. We live and breathe these issues. For that reason, we are frequently asked to serve as consultants in Title IX cases to augment the knowledge, skills, and experience of other professionals involved in the case.

If you are considering bringing in a consultant, we’d be happy to talk to you about the services we can provide assistance that would be useful in your case. We can also recommend other consultants as needed. We invite you to contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more.

Felice Duffy

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Attorney At Duffy Law

Attorney Felice Duffy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for ten years after beginning her legal career at two prestigious firms (one in CT and one in NY) and then clerking for two federal judges. A life-long Title IX advocate, she brought a legal action under the then-new Title IX statute against UCONN while an undergraduate to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer program. She went on to become a first-team Division I All-American, was selected to be on the first U.S. National Women’s Team, and spent 10 years as Head Coach of the Yale women's soccer team. Attorney Duffy has Ph.D. in Education/Sports Psychology and has spoken to, and conducted trainings for, over 50 schools and organizations on a wide range of topics involving athletics, the law, and social justice. You can reach Felice at (203) 946-2000.