Kathleen E. Dion



  • Overview


    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. 

    Education Law

    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.

    Pro Bono

    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.


  • Experience
    • Experience


        Educational Institutions

      • Represented a religious order against claims arising from alleged sexual abuse of a minor during the early 1970s by a teacher employed at a school run by the order. Claims in this action include negligent hiring, supervision, retention, breach of fiduciary duties, conspiracy, and vicarious liability.

      • Represented well-known, independent, coeducational boarding school in Massachusetts in litigation involving alleged abuse by former faculty member. Worked extensively with Board Chair to expedite resolution of the claim so the school could be spared from protracted litigation.

      • Counseled various educational institutions on issues related to mandatory reporting requirements, disclosure of student records issues, contract disputes, employee misconduct complaints, and other issues.

      • Successfully defended university and professor against claims of defamation for publication of unfavorable research data. The plaintiff abandoned the case prior to filing suit. 

      • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an educational institution with regard to a negligent supervision claim arising from alleged sexual abuse of a minor during the late 1970s by a teacher employed at the institution.

      • Investigations and Criminal Defense

      • Representation of three foundations to investigate embezzlement from the foundations, which were incorporated in three different states. An employee of the foundations’ management company embezzled over $1 million from the foundations collectively by writing fraudulent checks and making fraudulent wire transfers. Representation involved working with a forensic accountant to investigate the extent of the loss, analyzing electronic bank records and computer software, and interviewing the management companies’ employees and the independent auditor’s personnel. Robinson & Cole coordinated the foundations’ reporting of the findings of the investigation to attorneys general offices that oversee the foundations and assisted with the Department of Justice and Secret Service’s investigation and prosecution of the wrongdoer. Robinson & Cole also assisted the foundations in seeking recovery from the management company and the independent auditors.

      • Conducted internal investigation for health care organization arising from embezzlement of several hundred thousand dollars by its chief financial officer. Ultimately, through the investigation, we obtained a full confession from the former CFO and then coordinated with the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and the IRS for a successful criminal conviction of him. Thereafter, we assisted the client organization in obtaining a full recovery of its losses.

      • Assisted in representation of Rhode Island construction company in connection with claims that the company was defrauding the federal government in connection with an ongoing project. After conducting an internal investigation for the company, we worked with the company to prepare a self-disclosure to the federal government demonstrating the isolated nature of the issue and the company's remedial action. In response, the federal government decided to take no action whatsoever against our client.

      • Helped conduct internal investigations for health care, financial services, and educational organizations arising from misuse of the entities' technology by employees, including to access potentially illegal or contraband content or to misappropriate confidential, proprietary information or trade secrets. In some instances, those investigations have required coordination with law enforcement agencies to demonstrate that our client had not engaged in wrongful conduct.

      • Conducted internal investigation for Massachusetts health care organization arising from concerns about potential violations of federal and state anti-kickback statutes. Following the investigation, we represented the organization in a voluntary self-disclosure to federal and state law enforcement authorities arising from the investigation, which resulted in a favorable financial resolution and no prosecution of criminal or civil claim against individuals associated with the organization. 

      • Conducted internal investigation for New York, Connecticut, and Delaware nonprofit foundations in connection with a seven-figure embezzlement by an employee of the foundations' management company. Following the investigation, we brought the findings to the U.S. Department of Justice for successful prosecution and criminal conviction of the former employee. The firm obtained a recovery of nearly all of the foundations' losses from various sources. 

      • Represented individual during all stages of criminal investigation and federal prosecution by United States Attorney’s Office. Obtained favorable non-United States Sentencing Guidelines sentence.

      • Represented Criminal Justice Act client through all stages of federal prosecution by United States Attorney’s Office, including month long jury trial.

      • Represented various clients as targets and witnesses in Internal Revenue Service investigations.

      • Obtained the acquittal of an individual who had been charged with sexual assault.

      • Obtained a dismissal of all charges for an individual who had been charged with sexual assault of a minor.

      • Represented company in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, including during the raid of the company’s offices.

      • Business Litigation

      • Successfully defended entity in arbitration involving multimillion-dollar breach of contract claims. The arbitration concluded after several days of evidence, and the three arbitrators thereafter issued a unanimous award in favor of our client.

      • Assisted with representation of consumer-facing company in joint investigation and lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the Connecticut Attorney General's Office regarding nationwide Internet marketing practices. Helped with negotiating a favorable financial resolution and settlement terms for client.

      • Successfully defended national cosmetics manufacturing company in connection with a threatened class action in California. Following a rapid internal investigation and curative measures by our client, the plaintiff abandoned the case.

      • Represented tea company in connection with consumer class action claims in California federal court. The class representative brought claims alleging misleading packaging promoting health benefits of tea products. The case settled after successful dispositive motions.

      • Represented national consumer products company in deceptive practices class action filed in federal court in California. The matter was settled favorably for our client.

      • Obtained mid-trial settlement after cross-examination of opposing party’s primary witness for client in manufacturing-related dispute involving allegations of breach of contract.

      • Successfully defended a manufacturer of nutritional supplements against a proposed nationwide consumer product class action brought in California state court. The manufacturer, which distributes its product worldwide, was facing claims based on allegations that included product mislabeling and unfair trade practices, as well as violations of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and California-specific causes of action. We aggressively litigated the case in the early stages, and prior to any discovery production by the defendant or any depositions being conducted, the plaintiff agreed to a voluntarily dismissal with prejudice without any payment from the defendant.

      • Successfully obtained a verdict in favor of our client after a bench trial in a shareholder dispute action.

      • Represented financial institution in an interpleader action. Successfully obtained an Interlocutory Judgment of Interpleader and order for payment of attorney’s fees over objection by a defendant.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Member, Education Law Section
      Former Consumer Law Committee Co-chair, Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee
      Former Education Law Committee Co-chair, Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee
      Former Federal Practice Committee Chair, Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee

      American Bar Association

      Massachusetts Bar Association

      Women's White Collar Defense Association

      Connecticut Bar Foundation
      James W. Cooper Fellow
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Recognized as a "40 Under Forty" winner by BusinessWest for 2018.

      Connecticut Law Tribune, recognized in 2017 New Leaders in the Law Yearbook

      Selected as a Rising Star to the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2016 to 2019.

      Presented with the Ascending Alumni Award and the Distinguished Law Review Alumni Award from Western New England University School of Law in 2019

      Robinson+Cole Pro Bono Service Award Recipient, 2013

      Named to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) First 100 Plus Class of 2018 for demonstrating leadership and commitment to improving the lives of domestic violence survivors throughout Connecticut.

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Board of Directors, Secretary (2015 - 2018)

      Longmeadow Educational Excellence Foundation
      Former President Emeritus

      Longmeadow Montessori Internationale
      Board Member (2014 - 2018)
    • Publications


      "Avoid ‘Deadnaming’: How Universities and Colleges Can Get Ahead of Preferred Name Usage," co-authored with Janet Kljyan, published in University Business (3/21/2022)
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      "Escobar Materiality Standard for Implied False Certification Claims Poses Acute FCA Compliance Challenge," published in AHLA Connections, co-authored with Theodore J. Tucci and Conor O. Duffy (September 2017)

      "Administrative Procedures Are Focus of Insurance Case," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, co-authored with Jeffrey J. White (9/14/2015)
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      "Successor Liability, Retaliation and Sanctions," co-authored with Jeffrey J. White, published in Connecticut Law Tribune, appeared in the special supplement Connecticut Supreme Court Review 2014. The article reviews several Connecticut Supreme Court decisions in 2014 that have an impact on the business community. (9/22/2014)

      "Stay Ahead Of Curve With 'Voluntary Cure'," published in Connecticut Law Tribune, co-authored with Edward J. Heath (9/24/2012)

      "Means Test or Just a Mean Test: An Examination of the Requirement That Converted Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Debtors Comply with Amended Section 707(B)," published in American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, coauthor (2008)

    • Presentations


      "Title IX Regulations on Students’ Eligibility for Athletic Teams," co-presented with Seth B. Orkand, hosted at Western New England University (5/15/2023)
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      "HERstory Brunch," panelist as part of the Women’s Law Association of Western New England University (WNEU) School of Law’s first annual HERstory Brunch (3/31/2023)
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      "Are College Athletes Students or Employees? A Review of the Developing Legal Landscape Surrounding the “Student-Athlete” Debate," co-presented with Natale V. DiNatale (3/3/2023)
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      "Are College Athletes Students or Employees? A Review of the Current Legal Landscape Surrounding the Student-Athlete Debate," co-presented with Natale V. DiNatale, at the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges’ 2022 Annual Member Forum, “Partnering for Progress” (11/21/2022)
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      "Mitigating Title IX Liability in Athletic Fundraising Policies and Procedures," an R+C-hosted webinar (11/8/2022)
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      "Title IX Regulations: What You Need to Know," co-presented with Seth B. Orkand, an Education Roundtable discussion presented at Bay Path University (10/28/2022)
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      "Supporting your international strategy with a spotlight on the higher education market and key jurisdictions from our best friend firms," co-presented with Kathleen M. Porter, the second in a series of webinars hosted by the UK-based law firm Mills & Reeve, looking at key developments and opportunities in the higher education sector (10/11/2022)
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      "Title IX: What Schools Need to Know to Prepare for Final Regulations," co-presented with Seth B. Orkand, an R+C-hosted webinar (9/29/2022)
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      "Title IX: What Schools Need to Know to Prepare for Final Regulations," co-presented with Seth B. Orkand, a webinar hosted by the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (8/25/2022)
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      "What is Roe v. Wade, and what happens if it is overturned?" (5/25/2022)
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      "Education Roundtable: A Discussion on Reopening Campuses for the Fall Semester," co-presented with Seth B. Orkand (7/29/2021)
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      "COVID-19 and Returning to Campus: Liability Concerns for Educational Institutions," co-presented with Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, which addressed important topics that educational institutions, including universities and independent schools, should consider when deciding how to open their campuses, including recent guidance from the CDC as well as state and local governments. (6/30/2020)
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      "Defending Campus Sexual Assault Cases," a CLE seminar presented by the Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section (CBA-YLS) (10/30/2017)
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      "Student Speech on Social Media: From Cyberbullying to Campus Protests," co-presented with Kathleen M. Porter, at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICUM) Fall Symposium 2017 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts (10/6/2017)
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      "Responding to Health Care Fraud Investigations—What to Do When the Government Knocks," co-presented with Edward J. Heath, webinar (6/5/2017)
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      "The Essentials of Federal Practice," co-presented with Nuala E. Droney and the Honorable Stefan R. Underhill of the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, a CLE program sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association's Young Lawyers Section (CBA-YLS) in New Britain, Connecticut (3/21/2017)
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      "Scandal on Campus and the Modern Day Investigation: Harassment, Sexting, and Avoiding the 'Rabbit Hole'," co-presented with Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, presented at the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) Fall Symposium, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts (10/14/2016)
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      "Risk Management for Independent Schools: Best Practices & The Board’s Role," presented at the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference on Governance, Hopkins School, New Haven, Connecticut (9/24/2016)

      "Navigating Substantive Legal Development in Health Law Practices," co-presented with Kathryn M. Rattigan and Lorianne M. Sainsbury-Wong of Health Law Advocates in Boston, David Harlow of The Harlow Group in Newton, and Roy J. Watson of the Watson Law Offices in Cambridge (2/10/2016)
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      "Responding to the Breaking Crisis: Conducting Internal Investigations in Healthcare Organizations," at Annual Healthcare Leaders Legal Update for the Connecticut Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (12/5/2014)
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      "Education Law: When to Call Outside Counsel," co-presented with Gregory R. Faulkner, Edward J. Heath and Nicole H. Najam, presented to University of Hartford doctoral students in Doctorate in Education Leadership program (7/30/2014)

      "Avoiding Common Legal Pitfalls and Risks," co-presented with Edward J. Heath, presented in collaboration with the Pro Bono Partnership and the Hartford Foundation of Public Giving, described solutions to nightmare nonprofit legal situations (3/9/2012)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • July 11, 2022

        Kate Dion Quoted in University Business Article on Potential College Policy Pitfalls

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      • March 23, 2022

        Kate Dion and Janet Kljyan Author Article on “Deadnaming” and Setting Policy for Preferred Name Usage

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      • July 30, 2021

        Kate Dion and Seth Orkand Present Webinar on Reopening College Campuses

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      • August 26, 2020

        Kate Dion Quoted in Wall Street Journal Article on COVID-19 Health Information Privacy in Higher Education

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      • October 18, 2018

        51 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • November 8, 2017

        Kate Dion Speaks at Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section CLE Seminar

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      • October 13, 2017

        Kathleen Porter and Kate Dion Address Student Speech and Social Media at AICUM Symposium

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      • September 27, 2017

        Ted Tucci, Kate Dion, and Conor Duffy Co-author Article Published in AHLA Connections

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      • June 9, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Discuss Health Care Fraud Investigations

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      • March 31, 2017

        Business Litigation Lawyers Participate in Essentials of Federal Practice at CBA-YLS Session

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      • October 20, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present at AICUM Fall Symposium 2016

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      • March 8, 2016

        Land Use Lawyers Negotiate Settlement Allowing Soup Kitchen to Remain Open

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      • February 3, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present at Annual Central Massachusetts Health Care Symposium

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      • November 12, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Hosts Domestic Violence Restraining Order Program for Lawyers

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      • October 28, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Publish Articles in Connecticut Law Tribune's Connecticut Supreme Court Section

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      • September 1, 2015

        Three Hartford Office Lawyers Elected to Executive Committee of CBA's YLS

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      • December 2, 2014

        Kate Dion Presents to Connecticut Chapter of HFMA

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      • August 18, 2014

        Hartford Lawyers Present Education Law Program to UHart Students

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      • May 2, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Lend Hand to Homeless Individuals Seeking Job Skills

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      • January 23, 2013

        Connecticut Law Tribune quotes Robinson & Cole's Pro Bono Work

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      R+C News Releases

      • November 5, 2019

        Kate Dion Honored by Western New England University School of Law

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      • October 19, 2019

        52 Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • December 5, 2018

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners

      • November 12, 2018

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers and Staff Named to CCADV’s First 100 Plus Class of 2018

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      • June 28, 2018

        Kate Dion Named to BusinessWest’s “40 Under Forty”

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      • November 27, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Promotes Eight Lawyers to Counsel

      • October 17, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • October 6, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Named “New Leaders in the Law” by the Connecticut Law Tribune

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      • June 13, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Appointed to Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Leadership Roles

      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • September 4, 2015

        Kathleen E. Dion Lawyer Elected to KNOX Board of Directors

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      • November 7, 2013

        Connecticut Legal Services Honors Robinson & Cole for Pro Bono Domestic Violence Restraining Order Program

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      • June 21, 2013

        Local Organizations Recognize Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service

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      • May 22, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Provide Pro Bono Support to Norwich Soup Kitchen

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      • April 6, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Welcomes 10 New Attorneys

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    • Legal Updates/Newsletters

      Legal Updates/Newsletters

      "Federal Court Rules Tax-Exempt Independent Schools Must Comply with Title IX" co-authored with Sabrina M. Galli and Seth B. Orkand (8/11/2022)

      "Federal Court Suggests Title IX Applies to Private Schools Receiving PPP Loans" co-authored with Seth B. Orkand and Theresa Lane (7/18/22)

      "Department of Education Proposes Revamping Title IX Sexual Harassment Regulations" co-authored with Seth B. Orkand and Theresa Lane (6/28/22)

      "OCR Provides Roadmap of Its Review of Title IX Regulations" co-authored with Seth B. Orkand (4/9/2021)

      "President Directs Department of Education to Begin Dismantling Trump-Era Title IX Sexual Misconduct Regulations" co-authored with Seth B. Orkand (3/8/21)

      "Independent Schools and PPP Loans: Are You In Compliance With Title IX?" co-authored with Jenna M. Scoville (11/18/2020)

      "Second Circuit Delineates Factors for Waiving Supersedes Bond Requirement" published in American Bar Association TIPS Newsletter (Fall 2015)

      "Data Privacy + Security Insider" co-authored with Kathryn M. Rattigan, Linn F. Freedman and Andrea Donovan Napp (04/02/2015)