Kathleen E. Dion focuses her practice on providing counseling and dispute resolution advice to colleges, universities, independent schools, child care centers, and organizations serving children and youths. In addition, she has a nationwide practice litigating complex civil cases and defending individuals and companies in white-collar criminal matters. Kate chairs the firm’s interdisciplinary Education Industry Team and is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation Group and Internal Investigations and Corporate Compliance Team.
Kate has a deep understanding of the present and future challenges facing educational entities and youth organizations, and thus is able to uniquely represent and counsel her clients on a variety of complex legal issues while also maintaining a focus on the institution’s larger, longer-term objectives. Because of her extensive experience serving as outside general counsel to universities and independent schools, she is well positioned to offer expert technical counsel to clients in a personable manner reflecting her appreciation of the complex and sensitive subject matters facing her clients. She works closely with an institution’s leadership team to solve problems in unique and creative ways to the maximum benefit of the institution.
Kate counsels education clients in a broad range of areas, including crisis management, protection of minors, sexual misconduct allegations and Title IX compliance, student discipline matters, disability accommodations, Clery Act compliance and campus security issues, Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliance, reviewing, revising and implementing handbooks and necessary policies, contracts, NCAA compliance, and governance matters. She also serves as a Title IX investigator, advisor and decision-maker.
Kate assists child care centers and organizations serving youth and children in responding to government investigations, conducting internal investigations, regulatory compliance, protection of minors, crisis counseling and development of policies and handbooks.
When it is not possible to avoid litigation, Kate is a skilled advocate representing clients in high-stakes, highly sensitive lawsuits in state and federal courts.
Complex Civil Litigation
Kate represents clients across the country in a variety of business disputes. Her courtroom experience ranges from federal and state jury trials to arbitrations and administrative hearings. She has represented financial services companies, health care organizations and defense contractors, among other clients. Kate’s successes include obtaining a favorable mid-trial settlement for a defense contractor in a dispute involving allegations of breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. She has successfully argued appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Connecticut Supreme Court and the Connecticut Appellate Court.
Government Enforcement and White-Collar Criminal Defense
Kate assists public and private companies with internal investigations on a variety of matters, including financial wrongdoing and regulatory non-compliance. While investigating the embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a health care organization, she obtained a full confession from the former chief financial officer and helped coordinate with federal agencies, which led to the CFO's criminal conviction. She has assisted with multiple corporate embezzlement investigations, helping to catch those responsible and recover stolen funds.
Kate has tried serious felony criminal cases in state and federal court and is active in the criminal defense bar. She is regularly court appointed to defend clients in criminal matters and has been recognized by the Federal District Court for the District of Connecticut for making substantial contributions in this area.
Kate has devoted significant time to the representation of pro bono clients. She was part of a group of Robinson+Cole attorneys whose legal assistance ultimately allowed a soup kitchen and food pantry to remain open, despite attempts by the local municipality to close them. She participates in the firm’s Domestic Violence Restraining Order Program, which provides free legal services to victims of family violence. Kate also successfully argued an appeal before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for a prisoner on a civil rights claim. She was the recipient of the firm’s Pro Bono Service Award in 2013.
Kate is a member of the firm’s Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team, and regularly contributes to the firm’s Data Privacy + Security Insider publication, writing about Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Fourth Amendment issues. She also contributes to the Health Law Diagnosis blog. Prior to joining the firm, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert E. Beach of the Connecticut Appellate Court.