Benefits of Hiring A Title IX Lawyer Quickly

Jan. 30, 2020 By Andrew Miltenberg

Benefits of Hiring A Title IX Lawyer Quickly

If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct in a university or college Title IX disciplinary proceeding, you face a critical and complex process in defending the charges. The potential negative consequences are severe.  Sanctions can include suspension or expulsion from school and a finding of liability may be noted on your transcript. This will make transferring to another college, admission to a desired graduate school or employment with an attractive company very difficult, if not impossible.

Because of the high stakes in the complex process and the quick-moving timeline for the disciplinary investigation and hearing, it is critical that you retain a Title IX defense attorney as soon as possible after being notified of the complaint.  

A Title IX lawyer is an expert who can assess the school’s procedures for unfairness or failure to provide necessary defense rights; identify potential bias on the part of investigators or hearing officers; and help make certain you are provided with due process and fundamental fairness in the conduct of the hearing. Defects, if not corrected, will be noted in the record and preserved for appeal. Those defects can also be the basis for a Title IX lawsuit against the school if the findings or sanctions are negative or unreasonable.

There are many advantages to retaining an experienced Title IX attorney as early as possible during the disciplinary process and investigation. 

Among the benefits of having an experienced Title IX attorney as your advisor is  that the attorney can: 

  1. provide objective guidance to the accused student through all stages of the process; 
  2. make strategic decisions to develop the best defense against prospective charges; 
  3. prepare the accused student for interviews and hearings during the disciplinary process; 
  4. make sure that the school follows its own Title IX policies and procedures; 
  5. instruct the student on how to cross-examine the complainant and her witnesses; and 
  6. document the process to assist the student in preparing a written appeal if necessary

An on-campus disciplinary procedure will frequently contain a lower standard of proof for liability than criminal or even many civil cases. A “preponderance of the evidence” standard is applied by most schools. This means that it must be only a 50.01% likelihood that the alleged wrongful acts occurred and this will result in a finding of responsibility for the alleged violations and imposition of sanctions against the accused students. A Title IX attorney is knowledgeable about evidence, testimony, and cross-examination and will assist you in presenting a case more likely to defeat the standard for liability at your school.

Title IX attorneys are experts on appeal procedures as well.  Most schools allow for an appeal by either the complainant or the accused student.  If you are successful in the initial hearing process, this presents a risk of “double jeopardy” as the accuser gets a second chance unlike in our criminal justice system. A Title IX lawyer can protect you on an accuser’s appeal as well as filing your own appeal if a responsibility determination is rendered by the hearing panel.  Timeframes for filing appeals are very short — sometimes as little as a few days after the decision is reached — and the grounds for an appeal may be limited as well. Title IX lawyers can quickly and effectively prepare an appeal brief as well as a brief in opposition to the complainant’s appeal. Again, this is a specialized area which  requires an experienced Title IX attorney’s level of expertise.

If the result of an appeal is unsuccessful, a Title IX lawyer will have preserved the record to best position you to bring a Title IX lawsuit against the school to reverse the findings, vacate the sanctions, and expunge any notation of the matter from your school transcript and records. Courts have held that biasa failure to provide fundamental fairness or due process, denying the accused student access to the complainant’s witnesses or materials, failing to follow the school’s procedures for disciplinary hearings, and other process defects can justify a Court’s reversal of the negative findings and sanctions. A Title IX lawyer knows these rulings and will assert them on your behalf in a federal Title IX lawsuit if the school refuses to reverse its findings.

This blog does not constitute legal advice due to the individual nature of your situation and your school.  However, if you believe your due process rights have been violated, let’s talk.

Our attorneys are Title IX defense specialists and we have helped hundreds of accused students across the country who have been treated unfairly by their schools. Call us at 212-736-4500 or contact us as soon as a complaint is filed and we will be there aggressively protecting your rights, ensuring a fundamentally fair process, or establishing the deficiencies that will lead a court to reverse the school’s adverse findings. There is no fee for a private consultation.