Title IX pro bono program to expand – The Daily Texan

A pro bono program allowing Texas law students to serve as advisers to parties involved in Title IX proceedings is expected to accept more appointments and more types of cases in 2022-23.

“I realized there was a huge gap in services and many students who went through a Title IX procedure were saying the procedure was really difficult (to understand),” said Olivia Horton, a law student from third year, who helped establish the program. “But I thought… ‘Why don’t main campuses partner with law schools so they can provide their students with the free legal services they demand?’ »

The Richard and Ginni Mithoff’s pro bono program and that of the University Title IX Office implemented the counseling initiative in the 2021-22 school year. Ten student volunteers appointed by the Office of Title IX counseled six undergraduate students in cases of sexual assault, interpersonal violence and harassment, Mithoff program director Andrea Marsh said. They assisted four plaintiffs and two defendants in separate cases, according to the press release.

The program provides each student undergoing a Title IX case with counsel, to which they are entitled by law.

“This year, we have 40 students working on the project. We anticipate we will have the capacity to process up to 20 cases,” Marsh said. “This year we are taking the C-track cases, which are different offences. We take cases involving employees, … and we also have cases involving graduate students.

The success of the pilot program prepared the program to expand, Marsh said.

“We already had our training materials ready to use. We identified attorneys in the community who were willing to work with us on these cases and help oversee our students,” Marsh said. “We just got a better sense of the amount of work involved in the process.”

The Mithoff program created the initiative to address the need for counselors helping students undergoing Title IX proceedings, Horton said.

Law student volunteers provide the legal services needed to streamline the process for parties involved in Title IX proceedings, said Justin Atkinson, who served as counsel for two students in the pilot program during his first year of college. by right. Volunteers discuss the facts of the case and the ideal outcomes with the parties, then help them build a presentable case.

“The benefit of our program is that when the University appoints us to counsel, we can get that legal strategy,” Atkinson said. “We can speak with the lawyers we work with to build a case theory, and we can help develop a more strategic approach. It’s handled like we would any type of legal process.

The program provides students with an attorney to support them through the lengthy legal proceedings involved in Title IX cases, Horton said.

“Students often feel very alone during this process and very confused,” Horton said. “I think it’s just about being their advocate from start to finish, whether it’s helping them articulate their goals or needs…or helping them with more technical legal issues. We do both.

Ryan H. Bowman