Higher Education

Adjudication, Informal Resolution and Investigation Services

Our Services

  • Adjudication services
  • Day-to-day legal advice to ensure institutional and decision-maker compliance with Title IX, Clery Act, FERPA, NYS Education Law Article 129-B (Enough is Enough)
  • Informal resolution facilitation
  • Investigation services
  • Policy and process development
  • Prevention and education
  • Title IX and Enough is Enough team training

Investigation Services

Timely, thorough, and legally compliant investigations are vital.  Given our experience conducting investigations (and guiding our clients in doing so), we can quickly focus on the pertinent issues and develop an investigation strategy aimed at conducting the investigation in an appropriate, effective, and legally-compliant manner.

We have conducted investigations as a single investigator as well as with co-investigators from the campus or our firm.  Our investigations commence with analysis of the allegations to develop an investigation plan in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator.  We search exhaustively for potentially relevant information, produce records of interviews in accordance with each institution’s preference, and prepare investigation reports in keeping with each institution’s format and style and in compliance with the law.  Our meetings with parties and witnesses commence and conclude with providing information about available resources and supports and the institution’s policy against retaliation.

Our technical investigation skills are enhanced by our diverse experiences. Julia E. Green, a partner in the group, identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community and her LGBTQ advocacy, life experiences, and perspective imbue her investigation skills with a thorough understanding of and facility with matters involving LGBTQ students and issues. Theresa A. Conroy has insight available to few practicing attorneys due to her lived experiences in higher education, along with having conducted investigations on campuses and at the highest levels of for-profit corporations.   

Adjudication Services

We have years of experience advising sexual misconduct hearing boards and decision-makers regarding the legal requirements associated with their gathering and evaluation of evidence and their obligation to prepare detailed written notices of outcome and decisions on appeal, including the rationale for those decisions.  As a result, we understand the work from multiple perspectives:  legal compliance, practical application, time, and the impact on all participants, including board members.  With our focus on compliance, practicality, and humanity, we have developed methodical approaches to hearing preparation, procedures, evidence gathering, and deliberations, as well as the drafting of clear and complete outcome letters and decisions on appeal.  As with all of our work in this highly-regulated context, we look for and use practical approaches to carry out this quasi-judicial responsibility.  HSE adjudicators will bring ample skill to this role and will conduct legally compliant, fair, and transparent hearings. 

Informal Resolution Services

The new Title IX regulations allow for greater use of informal resolution and we believe parties will elect to participate in this voluntary process.  Of course, informal resolution will not be appropriate for every matter (and matters with employees are excluded).  We are passionate about the prospect of an optional, voluntary method of complaint resolution that is selected by the parties, more directed by the parties, and in some instances, may provide parties with a different type of closure that could be profoundly educational.  As attorneys, we have been called upon in a wide variety of contexts to facilitate agreements.  While facilitators may take different approaches to facilitation, the best resolutions are those that result from a process the parties felt was fair and during which the facilitator listened and communicated such that the parties felt understood and, therefore, in control of the process.  The facilitator must also have an open mind, serve without judgment, focus on common interests and goals, understand the relevant law and guidance and its application, elicit the parties’ concerns and needs, and treat the parties and the process with respect and sensitivity.  We know how to do this, because this is how we approach the entire Title IX process.

Hallmarks of our compliance-minded, human-focused approach to our adjudicator, informal resolution, and investigator roles include:

  • Keen understanding of institutions’ Title IX-related legal obligations
  • Conducting thorough, impartial, and fair processes, gathering the most complete set of facts and perspectives
  • Listening openly and objectively to all parties and witnesses
  • Eliciting relevant information with sensitivity and respect
  • Learning, not assuming
  • Searching for exculpatory and inculpatory information, as well as corroboration
  • Respecting individual privacy concerns, while making clear that absolute confidentiality cannot be promised
  • Completing the relevant phase of the process within timeframes provided in the policy
  • Compliance with record-keeping requirements

> Return to the Higher Education practice page here.

Disclaimer

This website presents only general information not intended as legal advice. Although we encourage calls, letters and emails from prospective clients, please keep in mind that merely contacting Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (HSE) does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Confidential information should not be sent to HSE until you have been notified in writing by HSE that a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Information sent to us before then may not be treated as confidential by HSE or the court.

I have read this and agree     Cancel

Our website uses cookies. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.