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Overview

Pete concentrates his practice on serving private and public sector higher education institutions and academic medical centers in a wide array of litigation and counseling matters.

He advocates on behalf of educational institutions in court and agency proceedings, mediations and arbitrations. He also counsels on employment and student disputes, drafts policies and provides training and guidance to key personnel and students.

Clients rely on Pete’s extensive experience conducting sensitive internal investigations. He prepares confidential, privileged reports and assists decision-makers in addressing investigative findings in a variety of contexts, including board-mandated, sexual misconduct, athletic department, and scientific misconduct and non-compliance investigations.

Pete litigates employment discrimination and harassment cases, faculty terminations and tenure disputes, Title IX sexual assault claims, institutional governance issues, First Amendment disputes, student matters, school and program closings, noncompete agreement and trade secret disputes, and defamation and privacy issues. He has also counseled institutions on False Claims Act issues relating to scientific misconduct, accommodation and leave requests pursuant to the ADA and FMLA, privacy issues and compliance with FERPA, academic program closures and institutional affiliations, reductions in force, compliance with Title IX student discipline and gender equity standards, accreditation issues and investigations by the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights, the EEOC, and state and municipal administrative agencies. 

Before joining the firm, Pete was co-chair of the Higher Education Practice Group at a mid-sized Chicago law firm and a partner in Babbitt, Land & Warner LLP, which focused on higher education legal services.  He frequently presents at conferences, seminars and webinars on significant legal issues affecting higher education.


Industries

Service

Recognition

  • Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin Publishing, 2017

Education

  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law
    • cum laude
      • Northwestern University Law Review, 1994-1995
  • B.A., Depauw University
    • Economics

Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Association of Workplace Investigators
  • Chicagoland Title IX Consortium, Advisory Board Member
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
Experience
  • Counseled academic medical center on research noncompliance and misconduct investigation issues through the inquiry and investigation stages, ORI and NIH reporting, and related faculty grievance procedure matters.
  • Successfully defended large research institutions against male-respondent Title IX claims seeking TRO and preliminary injunction, assisted board member committee investigating Title IX-related student complaints against university president, and currently leading audit of public university internal complaint system for Title IX and related diversity and discrimination issues for faculty and employees.
  • Led investigation for a Big Ten university into student-athlete allegations of overly aggressive injury management and scholarship withdrawal discrepancies in the football and women's basketball programs.
  • Led investigation of alleged sexual assault by scholarship football student-athlete in Division II program and assisted Division III institution with NCAA compliance investigation.
  • Counseled clients and conducted confidential, privileged internal investigations of sensitive allegations against senior administrators, executives, staff or faculty members for variety of alleged misconduct. Prepared reports and assisted decision-makers in addressing investigative findings.
  • Defended several private institutions of higher education in litigation by tenured faculty, medical school faculty, students, administrators and staff seeking injunctions or damages for contract, whistleblower, discrimination, retaliation and defamation claims.
  • Defended several public universities, senior officials and board members in litigation initiated by tenured faculty members and senior administrators regarding discrimination, retaliation, due process and state ethics law claims.
  • Advised for-profit education client on Title IX gender-equity issues relating to athletic program adjustments and developments.
  • Designed and delivered training to national for-profit education client’s employee relations staff on conducting and documenting internal investigations, including “hot line” inquiries.