FIRE announces ‘Practitioner’s Guide’ for attorneys handling Title IX cases

June 24, 2021
  • Authored by experienced litigators at leading firms, guide available for free to FIRE Legal Network attorneys

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2021 — All students benefit from fundamentally fair campus disciplinary hearings — and a trusted advisor or attorney can make a world of difference, especially in matters involving allegations of sexual misconduct. 

To help ensure that every student is treated fairly and has access to capable representation, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is proud to announce the publication of “Title IX Hearings and Litigation: A Practitioner’s Guide.” With new Title IX regulations once again on the horizon, the need for skilled representation is greater than ever. 

“Not only is the law in flux, but student rights in campus proceedings are often weak, unevenly applied, and vary from school to school,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley. “This guide is essential for attorneys aiming to navigate the complicated campus judicial process. All attorneys should have this guide on hand from the moment they’re hired to defend a student accused of campus offenses.”

Authored by Justin Dillon and Patricia Hamill, two of the nation’s leading Title IX litigators, the new guide provides students and their advisors or attorneys with practical, accessible information distilled from years of experience on campus and in court. Chris Muha and Lorie Dakessian, who work (respectively) with Dillon and Hamill, also contributed to the guide based on their own years of experience doing Title IX work.

Hamill and Dillon are members of FIRE’s Legal Network, an association of volunteer attorneys nationwide who stand ready to defend student and faculty rights. A digital and print version of “Title IX Hearings and Litigation: A Practitioner’s Guide” is available free of charge to Legal Network attorneys, and practicing attorneys are invited to join.

ATTORNEYS: JOIN FIRE’S LEGAL NETWORK TO ACCESS THE GUIDE

“When it comes to defending campus rights, FIRE knows from experience that Justin and Patricia are the best of the best,” Shibley said. “Across the country, students and their representatives will benefit from the invaluable guidance Justin and Patricia share in this new guide, and FIRE is happy to help facilitate that education.”

Dillon, a partner at KaiserDillon PLLC in Washington, D.C., has handled Title IX cases at more than 100 schools across the country. He speaks and writes frequently on campus disciplinary matters and was the first lawyer in the modern Title IX era to win summary judgment against a university in a campus sexual assault case. In 2016, FIRE hired Dillon to challenge the unlawful mandates of the Department of Education’s notorious 2011 Dear Colleague letter, which prompted colleges to abandon due process protections and try sexual misconduct cases using the lowest standard of evidence.

“I jump at every chance I get to work with the brilliant legal mavericks at FIRE, and I am deeply honored that they asked our firm to help draft this guide,” said Dillon, “I hope others will find it useful as they fight the good fight on campus.”

Hamill, the Chair of the Title IX, Due Process and Campus Discipline practice at Conrad O’Brien, P.C. in Philadelphia, has testified about student rights in Title IX proceedings before the United States Senate and was the lead attorney in Doe v. Brandeis in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, an important victory for student procedural rights at private universities. 

“We are pleased that FIRE asked us to be part of drafting this important guide based on our years of experience representing hundreds of students and faculty nationwide,” said Hamill. “We are hopeful the guide proves a valuable resource, and we are honored to be asked to contribute to FIRE’s efforts to champion the individual rights of students and faculty.”  

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of liberty.

CONTACT:

Katie Kortepeter, Media Relations Associate, FIRE: 215-717-3473; media@thefire.org