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Experienced Attorneys Representing Title IX Respondents
- 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
Ensuring Fairness for Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct
Many people consider Title IX to be the law that protects students from sexual misconduct on college and university campuses. In reality, Title IX offers numerous protections for all students of publicly-funded institutions, from kindergarten through higher education. Even when students are accused of sexual misconduct, they still have important rights and protections under the law.
When the focus is on the accuser, an accused student’s legal protections can easily fall by the wayside. However, over the past year, the Department of Education has clarified guidance regarding the Title IX protections of every student, even those facing sexual assault allegations. The guidance requires that students receive proper due process and unbiased treatment during any disciplinary proceedings. This is highly important, as a finding of sexual misconduct can result in loss of scholarships, disqualification from collegiate athletics, expulsion from school, and difficulty gaining acceptance into new educational programs or obtaining professional licenses.
There is too much at risk to try to defend against sexual misconduct allegations on your own. You need an attorney who believes in standing up for the rights of respondents in Title IX actions. Our highly experienced Title IX and Conduct Code attorneys at Duffy Law believe in fairness for all parties involved in Title IX actions, and we represent clients who are complainants or respondents. We have a unique perspective in these cases, and you can trust us to advise you of all your rights and options when facing disciplinary proceedings. Call our office to find out more about how we can help you.
Due Process for Title IX Respondents
Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education recently proposed new policies that bolster the rights of respondents in numerous ways to ensure due process. Some changes include:
- Allowing schools to choose their own evidentiary standard between “preponderance of the evidence” and the higher “clear and convincing evidence” when deciding on suspension or expulsion of a student
- Allowing mediation as an informal resolution between the students
- Allowing respondents access to all investigatory evidence, even if it will not be used in a hearing
- Allowing respondents to request evidence from and to cross-examine complainants
- Requiring schools to handle Title IX complaints with impartiality and to conduct objective investigations that lead to equitable resolutions
- Requiring schools to handle investigations and hearings with the presumption that the accused student is innocent until proven guilty
In the past several years, guidance by the Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) led schools to give so much deference to complainants that the accused often did not receive fair and unbiased treatment. Assuming that a male student is guilty without proper investigation and proceedings violates a student’s rights against sex discrimination under Title IX, just as allowing sexual misconduct to occur is a violation. While it is imperative to protect students from sexual assault and harassment, schools should never take it so far that it affects a respondent’s right to an education free from sex discrimination.
How We Can Help
Universities and colleges these days don’t want a reputation for creating an environment that allows sexual assault, so schools often aggressively pursue allegations against students. The stakes are high in any Title IX sexual misconduct case and, unfortunately, too many students and their parents fail to realize the full scope of potential immediate and lasting consequences if they don’t take steps to protect the student’s rights. Fortunately, there are many ways an attorney can advise you during the Title IX disciplinary process to help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible.
At Duffy Law, we evaluate each case on an individual basis, though the following are some ways we may help Title IX respondents:
- Explain the Title IX process and policies of your school, as well as your rights under the law
- Identify the types of information and evidence that you can use to support your narrative and help gather such documentation and evidence
- Craft arguments to rebut any presumptions or claims made by the complainant
- Help you present facts in a clear and comprehensive manner
- Help you use appropriate language and a calm demeanor when discussing sensitive and personal sexual information
- Help you understand and present a consistent and convincing narrative of consent
- Assist you with interactions and communications with investigators and Title IX staff at your school
- Help you practice your narrative to ensure you have a clear presentation even when under the stress of a live hearing
- Help you anticipate certain questions and provide coaching and advice before and during a hearing
- Draft documents including written statements, correspondence with Title IX staff and investigators, and appeals if needed
- Identify when your school acts in violation of its own policies or your Title IX rights and take proper legal action on your behalf
In addition, some students facing Title IX allegations also face criminal charges for sexual assault. In many cases, we can advise you regarding your criminal defense as well as your Title IX hearing.
Our highly knowledgeable Title IX and Conduct Code lawyers believe that no school should deny students their constitutional and legal protections in disciplinary hearings. Without proper legal representation, it is all too easy for a student to receive overly harsh consequences based on biased and wrongful disciplinary findings. Our attorneys have unique and personal experience with Title IX actions and thoroughly understand the college disciplinary process, which allows us to best represent clients facing sexual misconduct allegations.
Contact Our Nationwide Title IX Attorneys to Discuss Your Situation
It can be stressful and even terrifying when someone accuses you of sexual assault or harassment. You may be uncertain your school’s policies for disciplinary hearings and of your future. You shouldn’t hesitate to contact Duffy Law to learn about your options. Our highly experienced Title IX lawyers believe in every student’s rights to be free from sex discrimination. If you would like to discuss your particular case, please call us at 203-946-2000 or contact us online to schedule your case evaluation today.