THE PITFALLS IN CHOOSING THE BEST STUDENT DEFENSE ATTORNEY
Many General Practitioners and Criminal Defense Attorneys Advertise Themselves As "Student Defense Attorneys" Among a Laundry List of Practice Areas. It is hard to be very experienced in every practice area. As a result, students often find themselves with attorneys scrambling behind the scenes to figure out next steps. This is a pitfall. It is important to hire a Student Defense Attorney who is ready to hit the ground running because rapid response is almost always necessary.
Additionally, students often find themselves with attorneys approaching a student defense case on campus using the same strategies used for criminal cases or civil lawsuits. This is a pitfall. Campus proceedings and hearings are a completely different breed than civil or criminal hearings and trials.
It is very important to choose a Student Defense Attorney who has handled several College or University campus hearings specific to the charge(s) faced by the student. Understanding the dynamic and how to be most effective at a campus hearing requires years of experience handling all different kinds of student defense cases, from sexual assault and drugs/alcohol to plagiarism, cheating, and other honor code violations.
Each kind of charge requires a unique approach. At New England Student Defense, Jonathan Cook understands from handling numerous hearings of all kinds on campuses across the United States that every school is unique, every Title IX or Student Conduct Officer is unique and every College or University investigator assigned to a case is unique. As a result, to hone in the best strategy, you need a student defense lawyer who can read each of the above based on experience.
Many lawyers inexperienced in student defense think pounding their chest and bulldogging their way through a college disciplinary hearing is the proper strategy because it may work in the a civil or criminal hearing. In reality, it is a recipe for disaster.
Remember: although it is extremely important to hire an experienced Student Defense Attorney as early in Campus Disciplinary Proceedings as possible (as soon as a notice of charges is received, if not before), it is never too late. Whether a student has already been sanctioned and is in the appeals stage or even after an appeal has been denied, a lawyer with extensive experience representing and defending college students can offer invaluable help.
Jonathan Cook at New England Student Defense has represented over 150 students at Colleges and Universities nationwide from Yale University and Georgetown University to the University of Houston and Tulane University.
These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.