Student Rights & Title IX

A Champion of Legal Rights On and Off Campus

College students, faculty, and staff who experience sexual harassment or discrimination, or who are accused of misconduct, such as Title IX violations, are not always aware of their legal rights. University hearings are unlike any other kind of civil or criminal proceeding, which is why it is essential to have lawyers who are familiar with these procedures, as well as how they overlap with other criminal or civil legal proceedings that can arise out of on-campus incidents.

No Learning Curve Needed

As early pioneers of student rights work, we have represented individuals in disciplinary and conduct proceedings for many years, long before the federal government’s increased/improved enforcement of Title IX. Over the last decade, this area of law has become one of the most active practices at the firm. All of our attorneys have experience in protecting students’ rights in college and university disciplinary proceedings—representing both complainants and respondents, related criminal cases, and civil litigation against universities related to their handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

Since 2013 alone, we have represented hundreds of students, as well as faculty and staff, at more than 100 schools in cases involving Title IX, sexual misconduct, and other disciplinary violations. Our experience spans:

  • Representing students charged with violations of their schools’ codes of conduct and honor codes, ranging from allegations of cheating or plagiarism to sexual assault and sexual harassment.
  • Representing individuals who have experienced discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct on campus in asserting their rights through the campus Title IX and anti-discrimination processes.
  • Representing university groups, such as fraternities and sororities, against disciplinary action, and to advance the rights of their members.
A Boston Firm With National Reach

Our Massachusetts-based attorneys have represented many students across New England, in both graduate and undergraduate programs at dozens of schools including:

  • Harvard University
  • MIT
  • Yale University
  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Northeastern University
  • Tufts University
  • Brandeis University
  • Brown University
  • Dartmouth College

We also represent college students, graduate students, and professional students around the country at dozens of schools including:

  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Michigan
  • Stanford University
  • Duke University
  • University of Chicago
  • New York University
  • Ohio State University
  • Middlebury College
  • Tulane University
  • Baylor University
  • Cornell University
  • Washington University – St. Louis

In addition to our higher education practice, we represent elementary, middle, and high school students involved in sexual misconduct and other disciplinary cases at public and private schools in New England.

Fearlessly Advocating for You

We act quickly and take a creative, aggressive approach in handling campus misconduct cases. First, we determine your goals. For a complainant, that might be to obtain accommodations to protect your safety, pursue disciplinary charges against the respondent, or obtain a protective order from a court. For a respondent, we can help you evaluate potential outcomes and work to stay at school, to withdraw without a permanent mark on your record, or to fight as hard as possible against the potential disciplinary action. Next, we plan a legal strategy that factors in all the variables, including the motivations and priorities of the school’s administrators.

Our complementary expertise in criminal and employment law gives us an edge in understanding the dynamics and impact of sexual harassment, as well as the broader legal landscape that influences Title IX enforcement. In combination with our exceptional legal talent and reputation as pioneers in this area of law, we are well-positioned to advocate for your rights in student investigation and disciplinary processes.

Examples of our success include:

  • Successfully persuaded a university to grant a new hearing to a client who had been expelled due to sexual misconduct, resulting in a reduced sanction.
  • Successfully argued that a school failed to recognize that a dental student had a disability that affected his ability to perform his academic and clinical duties, obtaining a reversal of the student’s expulsion for failing to meet the school’s academic requirements.
  • Represented a law student in an appeal from an expulsion based on alleged cheating, obtaining a reversal of the decision to expel the student.
  • Helped many students accused of sexual assault or harassment obtain findings in their favor or reduced sanctions.
  • Represented complainants in Title IX proceedings, ensuring that the respondent was properly found responsible for unlawful conduct.
  • Obtained substantial pre-litigation or pre-trial settlements for clients subjected to Title IX violations at their universities.
Here to Help You

If you are facing disciplinary action from your college or university, it is important to get legal advice as early in the process as possible. Call our Student Rights & Title IX lawyers at 617-742-6020 or complete our contact form to get in touch with us.

Justia Lawyer Rating
Super Lawyers
Martindale-Hubbell - AV Preeminent - Peer Rated For Highest Level Of Professional Excellence 2020
Recognized by Best Lawyers
Best Lawyers - Best Law Firms
Client Reviews
I hired Mr. Duncan to deal with a very sensitive issue that my daughter had. Since the first contact, I had a very good impression of him. He transmitted confidence and appeared to know exactly what to do. I called and emailed him many times, he was polite and comprehensible with the anxiety of a father and appeared to know every step to solve the case. I strongly recommend Mr. Duncan. Flavio Lajoia
If you are reading this review, it means either you or a family member is in trouble and needs immediate legal counsel. Please know your search can end right now because Zalkind, Duncan & Bernstein is the law firm to hire. They are honest, responsive, compassionate and have the experience and expertise to bring... Client
I contacted Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein to assist with a Title IX case. From our initial conversation, Naomi Shatz had a strong understanding of Title IX policies and conducted each step of the process with professionalism, honesty and a responsiveness that did not disappoint. Ms. Shatz displayed confidence and just as important, compassion when needed. Client
I worked with Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah. And from my first contact on the phone, on to my first meeting in their office and during the trial, I found them and the firm's entire team to be a group of consummate legal professionals who are very knowledgeable, patient, dedicated, fair, honest and caring... Chantal C.
I am forever grateful to all the staff at this firm, but in particular, Ms. Shah, Mr. Zalkind and Mr. Silverglate. They represented my son who was being sought for extradition to Scotland. The case took years to fight, covering new legal ground, setting precedence. But each one of these legal eagles went above and beyond the duty of office... Suzanne D.