Advisor vs. Attorney – Understanding Our Role in Your Title IX Defense
Advisor – this is an important nuance in the Title IX investigation process. In working with you, we at Contant Law are officially hired as your advisor even though we are criminal defense attorneys in Massachusetts. Title IX defense does not permit a defense lawyer to act on your behalf. Our role in defending your rights in a Title IX violation is as an advisor. Rest assured, we are with you every step of the way through the process. If there is also a criminal case filed, we can still be retained as your criminal defense attorney and act as your advisor for the Title IX violation proceedings in Massachusetts.
Difference Between Attorney and Advisor
Under the law you are entitled to select whomever you choose to be your advisor throughout the Title IX violation process. The school cannot limit who you choose to be your advisor. However, in a Title IX process, your attorney’s role is different when acting as your advisor as opposed to other types of legal cases.
As your advisor, we will work with you to investigate the facts of the case and gather evidence to assist in your defense. We will assist you in preparing your initial written statement to ensure that it is clear, concise and stresses the most relevant points of your defense. We will work with you to prepare for all investigative meetings and any hearings, including helping you draft your position statements, questions for the witnesses and arguments to support your position. We will accompany you to all meetings with the college’s investigators or Title IX Coordinator and any hearings. We will offer advice, guidance and support throughout.
However, as your Title IX advisor our role is limited to those activities. While we are there to help, we cannot speak or act on your behalf. In most cases, your defense attorney is not allowed to interfere with the investigation or object to questions posed to you by the investigator. Your advisor is not allowed to make argument or question or cross examine witnesses on your behalf during the Title IX violation hearings. These are actions you must perform yourself. In many cases, your advisor is not allowed to speak during the Title IX violation process, although you will be allowed to confer with us privately for advice and guidance throughout the process.
Time is essential. If you have been notified that you have been accused of a Title IX violation, your first step should be to contact an experience criminal defense attorney. Given the nuances of the Title IX process, you do not want to take the matter lightly to ensure you are protected from both the Title IX disciplinary procedures, as well as law enforcement who may seek to bring criminal charges.