When representing students accused of college or university misconduct, national college misconduct defense attorney Joseph Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm have an ace in the hole. Attorney Lento has relationships of trust and respect with countless attorneys representing colleges and universities nationwide. Attorney Lento knows and has productive relationships with attorneys in college and university Offices of General Counsel and school attorneys retained as Outside Counsel, across the country. School attorneys don't generally run college and university misconduct proceedings. Non-lawyer deans, directors, coordinators, and professors instead do so. But misconduct proceedings don't always go the way they should: fair and equitable according to school procedures and commitments while respecting the accused student's rights. When a misconduct proceeding goes south to your detriment when it should go north in favorable resolution, attorney Lento can play his ace in the hole with a productive call to General Counsel or Outside Counsel.
Formal Procedures Versus Informal Oversight
In college and university misconduct proceedings, formal procedures are important. If you face misconduct charges at your school, then your retained attorney representative should know and follow those procedures and their rules. Formal procedures can help you defend and defeat unfair, unsupported, or exaggerated misconduct charges. But procedures aren't always enough for a fair and favorable outcome. Consider law scholar Grant Gilmore's notorious quote that “in hell there will be nothing but law, and due process will be meticulously observed.” For a just and favorable outcome, you need persons of good character and judgment behind or outside of the procedures. Exercising sound institutional oversight judgment, no matter the unfair outcome of school procedures is the critical role of General Counsel or Outside Counsel. Colleges and universities certainly have formal procedures. But they also have informal oversight for when formal procedures produce unfair, unjust, unsupported, or destructive outcomes.
Formal Versus Informal Resolution
That's where attorney Lento's ace in the hole comes in. Attorney Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm are as committed as any defense team could be to making the best use of all college and university formal procedures. Attorney Lento and his expert team don't take shortcuts. They will diligently investigate, prepare, and help you present the best possible defense through formal hearings and appeals. But as important as it is to do the best job possible through traditional school processes, attorney Lento offers you more than a traditional, formal defense. When formal procedures look like they're going to produce a hellacious outcome (referring to Gilmore's above quote), attorney Lento has the General Counsel and Outside Counsel relationships to obtain sound and corrective oversight judgments. When your misconduct proceeding is going south rather than north, you need an ace in the hole. Learn here more about General Counsel and Outside Counsel and why retaining national college misconduct defense attorney Joseph Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm can give you that ace in the hole.
General Counsel's Governance Role
Colleges and universities, whether public or private, generally have governing boards that appoint the school's chief executive to administer the school. Typically titled a President or Chancellor, the chief executive carries out administrative functions through an executive team. That team generally includes vice presidents, provosts, or other officers for things like academic affairs, student affairs, facilities, technology, human resources, donor relations, and other critical school functions. A school's chief executive will also routinely include an attorney, called the General Counsel, on the executive team to ensure that the school administers programs lawfully, minimizing risk while maximizing legal rights and benefits. The General Counsel may even be more than just another function expert, doing the expert's own thing. The General Counsel is often one of the President's closest advisors, helping the school navigate its most strategic and critical interests. The General Counsel is the right arm of a college or university President.
General Counsel's Power and Authority
If you want to get something done at a college or university, get the help of the General Counsel. Be on good terms with the General Counsel, and you may just have your way. The General Counsel's governance role gives the Office of General Counsel authority across the full scope of school functions. The subject may be whether to build a building on an archeological site, whether to license the school logo to a shoe company, or whether to impose vaccine mandates or mask restrictions. The subject doesn't really matter. What the General Counsel says generally goes. The General Counsel's power doesn't just come from the General Counsel's membership on the school's executive team and close relationship with the school's President. The General Counsel's authority also comes from the law. Colleges and universities face significant liability, reputational, and relational risks when they break the law. School officials know that they ignore the General Counsel's instructions or advice at their peril and the peril of the school. The request or direction of a school's General Counsel carries about as much weight as the request or direction of anyone else at the school, right up to the President.
The Functions of an Office of General Counsel
An Office of General Counsel is a college or university's legal staff, almost like an inside law firm. Colleges and universities hire lawyers for several functions. Among other functions, school lawyers draft and review school contracts for goods and services. School lawyers help professors, programs, and staff with copyright, trademark, and patent protections for intellectual property and licensing agreements for that property. School lawyers help with labor negotiations with unions, manage employee benefit plans, and help to address and resolve employment disputes. And school lawyers help schools buy, sell, and develop real property. The roles that the lawyers in an Office of General Counsel fulfill are varied and technical enough that smaller schools may have several lawyers in the Office of General Counsel, while larger schools may have a couple dozen lawyers or more. Offices of General Counsel do varied work relating to academic and non-academic functions, and faculty, staff, and student activities, across the institution.
The Office of General Counsel's Compliance Role
An Office of General Counsel's most-impactful role often has to do with compliance. When school attorneys do compliance work, they ensure that the school meets its federal, state, and local legal obligations. Their goal is to help the school avoid regulator investigations, charges, fines, and other penalties. When school attorneys do compliance work, they are also helping the school avoid private lawsuits and liability that can embarrass and burden school officials and employees and cost the school finances, relationships, and reputation. School attorneys know the proverb that a stitch in time saves nine. When an attorney from the Office of General Counsel sees something starting to go awry at the college or university, the Office of General Counsel authorizes the attorney to quickly step in to correct the matter's course, saving the school and its personnel a lot more time, effort, and money later.
The Office of General Counsel's Role in Misconduct Charges
If you face college or university misconduct charges, then you are already learning the hazards that those charges present to you, including serious things like probation, suspension, or even dismissal. But misconduct proceedings also present special hazards to the college or university. Those hazards go beyond the substantial time, effort, burden, disruption, and distraction of the misconduct proceeding itself. A poorly handled misconduct proceeding could result in federal or state EEO (discrimination) investigations, legislative inquiries, a public-relations nightmare, and unhappy alumni donors, among other broader harms. Colleges and universities shouldn't be mistreating students with false, unfair, unsupported, exaggerated, or discriminatory misconduct charges. When discipline officials overreach and overreact, the Office of General Counsel knows that they can dearly cost the school. In short, the Office of General Counsel will look closely at misconduct charges. And often enough, if the Office of General Counsel can trigger a quiet, negotiated resolution, it will. Offices of General Counsel view misconduct cases through a different lens. Retain national college misconduct defense attorney Joseph Lento to make that lens work for you.
Obtaining Office of General Counsel Review
An Office of General Counsel can be a busy place. The attorneys in an Office of General Counsel typically have routine duties that fill their time. Those attorneys are not necessarily looking for more work to do. The attorneys in an Office of General Counsel won't necessarily know that a misconduct proceeding is ongoing. They may not even hear that the misconduct proceeding is not going as it should, justly and according to procedures that protect the accused student. A student falsely accused of misconduct, or whose misconduct proceeding is heading toward unjust sanctions that ignore exonerating and mitigating evidence, won't generally get Office of General Counsel review without making an appropriate request. Indeed, an Office of General Counsel may get many unsupported complaints from students, faculty, staff, and school outsiders. The key to obtaining meaningful Office of General Counsel review is for the right person to make that request at the right time with the right showing, including incontrovertible documentation. Meaningful review generally requires a skilled and experienced college misconduct defense attorney who already has a relationship with the Office of General Counsel or whose reputation can instantly form one.
Relationships with General Counsel Offices
National college misconduct defense attorney Joseph Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm have established relationships of trust and respect with General Counsel Offices across the nation. Make no mistake: those relationships are hard-won. It's not easy to impress the sophisticated and secure attorneys in an Office of General Counsel. They can easily spot who's real and who's not. The attorneys in an Office of General Counsel respect competence, confidence, cordiality, and expertise. They come to trust those who know as much or more than they do about the legal subject with which they must deal. And they come to respect and even admire those who have more experience than they do in that legal subject. Attorney Lento has successfully represented hundreds of college and university students, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students, in misconduct cases across the nation. Attorney Lento has thus dealt with hundreds of school attorneys. Attorney Lento's success in favorably resolving so many of those cases indicates the extent and value of his relationships with school attorneys across the nation.
Why General Counsel Offices Respect Attorney Lento
Countless General Counsel Offices at colleges and universities across the nation know, trust, and respect attorney Lento and his expert team. When a student retains an attorney relating to a misconduct case, and the attorney contacts school officials, those school officials will generally alert the Office of General Counsel of the attorney's retention. The appearance of an attorney tends to trigger at least some level of involvement of attorneys representing the school. That involvement may at first simply be to note the attorney's appearance without substantive review. But as the accused student's retained attorney makes more requests of school officials, those officials may consult with school attorneys who may take a greater role. Attorneys tend to work with attorneys. School attorneys can also make quick judgments about the cordiality, character, confidence, competence, and experience of the accused student's retained attorney. Attorney Lento's vast knowledge and experience, and his nationwide reputation, give him instant credibility with the Office of General Counsel, whether he has already dealt with the attorneys in that particular Office or not.
The Perfect Approach to General Counsel
Attorney Lento's vast experience has also given attorney Lento the perfect firm, wise, informed, but diplomatic, and cordial approach to school attorneys. Other retained attorneys may begin at DEFCON 1, ready to go to war. That combative approach may be especially characteristic of local criminal attorneys whose practice in local criminal court requires zealous advocacy. Combative communications and demeanor, though, are generally the exact wrong approach in academic administrative matters like student misconduct proceedings. Colleges and universities function smoothly and efficiently because of the collegial culture and diplomatic relationships of administrators, faculty, staff, and students. Throwing your weight around doesn't usually work in academic settings. School officials, including attorneys in General Counsel Offices, respect expertise. They expect and value cordial relationships based on trust and competence, not combative relationships based on bullying and exaggerated claims. Attorney Lento maintains the sensitive, respectful, and diplomatic approach that fosters General Counsel trust and confidence, even as he knows the law, has the advocacy skills and comes fully prepared.
The Role of Outside Counsel
Some colleges and universities employ Outside Counsel to assist with misconduct cases. A college or university Office of General Counsel will usually have most of the legal expertise that the school requires for its ordinary business. When special matters arise that the Office of General Counsel cannot handle, either because the Office lacks the time or expertise, the school may authorize the Office of General Counsel to retain Outside Counsel. Outside Counsel is simply a private attorney or law firm having the expertise that the school needs to handle the matter in which the school retains Outside Counsel. Student misconduct cases are among those periodic matters for which colleges and universities often retain Outside Counsel. Outside Counsel will generally have the same or similar power and authority as the Office of General Counsel, especially insofar as the Office of General Counsel will supervise and approve Outside Counsel's work. Outside Counsel, not the Office of General Counsel, could end up being the key to favorably resolving your misconduct case.
Relationships with Outside Counsel
National college misconduct defense attorney Joseph Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm have relationships nationwide with Outside Counsel, just as they do with the attorneys in Offices of General Counsel. Many of the hundreds of cases that attorney Lento has favorably resolved for students accused of misconduct have involved communications and negotiation with Outside Counsel. Attorney Lento knows how colleges and universities retain, supervise, and evaluate Outside Counsel. He knows what colleges and universities expect from their Outside Counsel in misconduct cases, both in terms of what outcomes Outside Counsel can recommend to the school that the school will likely accept and what the school will require from Outside Counsel to document and approve the resolution. Attorney Lento has a considerable track record of successful negotiations with Outside Counsel to creatively resolve misconduct cases through win-win propositions. Retain attorney Lento to explore a favorable resolution of your case through Outside Counsel.
The Value of Relationships
Don't underestimate the value of professional relationships. Sometimes, it's a matter of who you know, not what you know. Attorneys rightly depend on relationships, just like other professionals do. Matters today are way too numerous and move way too fast for an attorney representative to confirm every detail of every proposed resolution or deal. Due diligence on the critical questions is important. Investigation and preparation are still key to sound outcomes. But you can't check everything out in every dispute or deal. Attorneys in every field, including school law, must at some point look the opposing attorney in the eye to judge the trustworthiness of that attorney's stance and information. If a General Counsel or Outside Counsel can trust an accused student's attorney, then the General Counsel or Outside Counsel can resolve a matter more quickly, efficiently, and soundly than when they don't know the accused student's attorney. When they can't trust, they must verify. That's why attorney Lento works so hard and practices with such expertise and diligence to build valuable relationships. Many times, negotiation with the Office of General Counsel may achieve successful resolutions that the traditional process would not have afforded. And those resolutions often come without even having to consider or threaten a lawsuit.
Appreciate What's at Stake
You may wonder whether you really need an expert college misconduct defense attorney with a national reputation and nationwide relationships. But if you face misconduct charges, you need to appreciate all that you have at stake. Your college or university education has enormous economic, social, and personal value to you. You know that's the case because you decided to invest substantial time, effort, and money in your education. You very likely did so to earn a college or university degree, perhaps pursue a graduate or professional school degree, gain a meaningful job, and pursue a rewarding career. You didn't pursue a degree to get partway through the program before suffering dismissal. Nor did you pursue a degree to come out with a reputation tarnished with unfair misconduct findings. In a misconduct proceeding, you have everything for which you have worked on the line. It's all at stake. That's why if you face college or university misconduct charges, your greatest need is for skilled and experienced attorney representation. Misconduct charges are not a matter to ignore or on which to economize or scrimp. Get skilled and experienced attorney representation that can make the difference in your matter.
Premier College Misconduct Defense Attorney Available
National college misconduct defense attorney Joseph Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm are available for your student misconduct defense at colleges or universities across the nation. Attorney Lento has successfully represented hundreds of students at all undergraduate, graduate, and professional school levels, in all fields, disciplines, and majors, in all forms of misconduct cases, whether academic, behavioral, Title IX, or non-Title IX sexual misconduct. Trust a skilled and experienced college misconduct defense attorney and expert team whom hundreds of other students have wisely trusted. Let attorney Lento put his nationwide reputation and his General Counsel and Outside Counsel relationships to work for you. Like hundreds of other students, you won't regret it. Call 888.535.3686 / 888.J.D.Lento or go online to share the nature of your case.