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What Schools Need to Know About The New Title IX Regulations: Handling Claims of Sexual Harassment and Assault

Total Credits
1 - 2
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On May 19, 2020, the Department of Education published new Title IX regulations governing how schools must handle claims of sexual harassment and assault. Our panel of experts will cover the key aspects of the new regulations and how the regulations impact Higher Education institutions and students, as viewed from varying perspectives and stakeholders.

The presentation will cover:

  • When and how are Higher Education institutions required to respond to claims of student-on-student sexual harassment and assault?
  • What are the procedures Higher Education institutions must follow when investigating and adjudicating complaints of sexual harassment and assault?
  • How do the new regulations balance the interests of complainants and respondents in sexual misconduct cases?
  • How do the new regulations impact New York’s Enough is Enough law?

Lecturer Bios

Kimberly C. Lau, Esq.

Kimberly C. Lau is Partner and Chair of the Title IX/College Disciplinary Department of the law firm of Warshaw Burstein LLP in New York. Her experience includes state and federal practice, trials, arbitrations, mediations and appeals in commercial litigation and Title IX/college disciplinary matters. She has represented numerous students both male and female in nearly 200 proceedings addressing a broad spectrum of disciplinary matters, including, academic dishonesty, theft, harassment, sexual misconduct, and gender discrimination at major colleges and universities across the country. She regularly serves in a critical advisory role during student disciplinary proceedings.

The primary goal of her college disciplinary practice is to advocate for student rights during the disciplinary process in all types of disciplinary matters, whether the student is a complainant or the accused. Accused students seek Ms. Lau’s assistance to help them develop an appropriate defense, and safeguard their due process rights before a life-altering decision is made. Meanwhile, complainants requiring support in navigating the disciplinary process look to Ms. Lau’s professional advocacy and guidance to ensure that their rights are protected and respected.

The core beliefs that guide her work are fairness, accountability and due process. Students seeking a resolution for their grievances on campus are entitled to a transparent and thorough process. At the same time, when male or female students go through a process in which they are presumed guilty until innocent, it runs contrary to due process, a stronghold of our American legal system.

Ms. Lau's affiliations include the New York County Lawyers Association, the New York Women's Bar Association, FACE (Families Advocating for Campus Equality), National Association of Professional Women, and Asian Women in Business.

She regularly teaches continuing legal education programs regarding Title IX enforcement and litigation, and the evolving landscape of Office for Civil Rights’ Title IX guidance. Ms. Lau has authored numerous articles on issues affecting how colleges and universities handle sexual assault on campus, the federal privacy statutes impacting student education records, and tips from her extensive experience in handling nearly 200 cases in this area across the nation at both public and private education institutions.

Ms. Lau’s expertise in Title IX and college disciplinary matters has been featured on national news outlets, such as, CNN, ABC's Nightline, and The Wall Street Journal, and she has been quoted in national news media, including Newsweek, Yahoo News, The New York Observer, and The Daily Beast.

Ms. Lau is on the Board of Directors of FACE (Families Advocating for Campus Equality). FACE advocates for due process in college disciplinary tribunals. She regularly engages in lobbying efforts on the topic of our nation’s campus disciplinary systems in Washington D.C. with the goal of educating legislators on all perspectives, and effecting change.

Catherine Berryman, Esq.

Catherine Berryman is the Director of Community Standards at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. In this role, she serves as the Title IX Coordinator and is responsible for the implementation of the College’s sexual misconduct policy and procedures.

Before moving to Clinton to work at Hamilton College, Berryman worked in private practice in Philadelphia. Her practice focused in the areas of civil and commercial litigation, employment law, and education law. Berryman often worked as an independent Title IX investigator for educational institutions on issues related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, or intimate partner violence. In this role, she conducted more than 30 investigations for educational institutions. In addition, she represented institutions in civil rights litigation and contract claims matters. She also represented companies in matters related to wrongful termination, sexual harassment, and sexual discrimination.

Prior to moving to civil practice, Berryman was a public defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia for nearly a decade. As a public defender, she tried more than 100 bench trials and 20 jury trials. She regularly represented clients in high-publicity, complex criminal cases. In addition to her law practice, Berryman has taught trial advocacy at the Widener University Delaware School of Law. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a law degree from University of Minnesota Law School.

Lorie Dakessian, Esq.

Lorie Dakessian is the Vice Chair of the Title IX, Due Process and Campus Discipline practice at the Philadelphia-based law firm Conrad O’Brien, PC. She represents college students and professors nationwide who are under investigation or who have been disciplined by their colleges or universities for alleged violations of sexual harassment and misconduct policies following campus disciplinary proceedings, or complainants who raise and pursue sexual assault or harassment claims within universities.

She works closely with students and their families to help them navigate and fully prepare for investigations and hearings. Where resolution cannot be achieved, she has filed lawsuits for breach of contract, violation of Title IX (or other civil rights statutes) and tort liability. The firm’s Title IX practice has represented over 200 students nationwide in disciplinary matters or related litigation involving more than 70 colleges and universities. Given her experience, Lorie has spoken extensively on defending students and professors in Title IX and disciplinary actions.

In addition to her representation of college students, Lorie represents clients in white-collar criminal matters, internal investigations, professional malpractice litigation, and data privacy matters.

Suzanne M. Messer, Esq.

Suzanne’s clients turn to her for experience in handling complex litigation matters in areas critical to their success.

She represents and counsels a wide variety of clients throughout New York State as both plaintiffs and defendants, including:

  • Colleges and universities Corporations
  • Health care providers Not-for-profit organizations
  • Manufacturers Municipalities
  • Small business owners and individuals Professionals
  • Suzanne counsels and litigates cases for these clients on issues concerning:
  • Breach of contract Trade secret matters
  • Complex collective and class actions under FLSA and ERISA
  • Complex environmental litigation
  • Group Self-Insured Workers' Compensation Trusts (GSITs) formed under the New York State Workers' Compensation Law
  • Violations of restrictive covenants and confidentiality provisions of employment contracts

In addition, Suzanne counsels and litigates cases and proceedings for a variety of higher education institutions concerning claims brought under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and New York State’s Enough is Enough law.

Suzanne also has significant experience handling proceedings that arise under Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules for organizations, municipalities and higher education institutions. In addition to trying suits in diverse venues in New York federal and state courts, Suzanne has extensive experience resolving disputes through alternative dispute resolution procedures, including mediations and arbitrations.


  • Syracuse University College of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 2006) University of Scranton (B.S., magna cum laude, 2001)

Bar/Court Admissions

  • New York U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York

Practices School Law Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation Litigation Environmental and Energy Higher Education Class and Collective Action Litigation.

Honors & Affiliations

Listed in:

  • New York Super Lawyers 2017®, Upstate New York Rising Star, General Litigation
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Onondaga County Bar Association
  • Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association
  • Central New York Women's Bar Association
  • Justinian Honorary Law Society, Secretary, 2005-2006
  • Order of the Coif
  • Executive Editor, Syracuse Law Review
  • Representative Publications
  • Suzanne M. Messer, Brian J. Butler and Clifford G. Tsan, "E-Discovery and Information Management - Can Clicking 'Like' Make or Break a Lawsuit?," Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, April 2016
  • Representative Presentations
  • Class Action Refund Lawsuits Against Higher Educational Institutions, CICU Webinar, May 14, 2020

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