I have over twenty years of experience conducting legal investigations of civil rights and employment issues for public school districts and government agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations and private employers. Because of my unique legal background and training, my investigation services are typically sought in the areas that can result in costly litigation: allegations of harassment, including sexual harassment and violence; discrimination on the basis of protected status (sex, race, disability, national origin, religion, and/or gender identity), and retaliation.
Throughout my career, I have trained other lawyers, administrators, and human resources staff on how to conduct prompt, effective, and impartial investigations. For 16 years I investigated complaints and led investigation teams in complex complaints for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. I also developed, ran, and oversaw a civil rights department with both investigation and compliance reporting obligations in an urban public school district with almost 100 schools, 55,000 students, and 6000 employees. I have served as a Title IX Coordinator and been also been responsible for addressing access issues for persons with disabilities and responding to complaints of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
I am committed to on-going learning and have been trained in trauma-informed practices and the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). I also have experience working with interpreters and I am certified as a Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals.
I actively participate in professional organizations that provide support and training on the legal issues relevant to my investigations practice. Some of my current professional activities include:
At-Large Member (Neutral) of Labor and Employment Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association
Vice President for K-12 institutions for the Northwest Association of Title IX Administrators (NW ATIXA)
Member of the Association of Workplace Investigators and the Seattle Circle/Chapter
As an experienced trainer, I provide organizational support to address identified areas of concern and engage participants with real life scenarios that make the training memorable. My training services include live, in-person training; webinars; and design of e-learning environments. I also provide consulting and monitoring services. If you are interested in training or consulting services, please contact me to discuss your organization and circumstances so that together we can determine how my services will work best for your issues, organizations, and audience.
Below are just a few examples of training and consulting I have provided previously:
Title IX Sexual Harassment, including Sexual Violence
Overview of Responsibilities for School Compliance Officers for Administrators
Investigations for New Administrators and Attorneys
Discrimination and Harassment 101: Responsibilities for School Staff, including Safety and Security Officers
Special Education Law and Advocacy
Section 504, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Disability Discrimination
Transgender Rights: Legal Issues and Legislation
Language Access in Education
Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying
I provide civil rights law and education legal services to public schools, colleges, universities, and employers. I also provide limited scope representation and legal coaching to individuals with civil rights and education issues.
For education institutions and employers, my contract and consultation services can be employed to ensure that your civil rights policies, procedures, and handbooks are legally sound and are being effectively applied. I also provide legal advice and support to human resources staff and administrators about how to respond to complaints, conduct thorough and impartial investigations, and effectively resolve complaints. Additionally, I have experience conducting and leading teams in civil rights compliance reviews, including special education, language access, facilities access, and information and communication technology reviews..
For individuals, I offer limited scope representation and “legal coaching.” The scope of my representation depends on the individual client's issue and level of assistance needed. For example, for parents of students with disabilities, I have provided education consultation services by reviewing school records, evaluations, and current services to make recommendations for improving self-advocacy strategies and navigating systems. In other cases, I may provide direct representation at IEP meetings, discipline or due process hearings, negotiations, and appeals. For employees, I have assisted with filing complaints of discrimination and harassment with agencies. I have also provide legal coaching, consultation, and support to employees by helping to identify critical facts, relevant policies and resources, and to assess options for complaint resolution.