KJK is pleased to announce the addition of new partners Susan Stone and Kristina Supler, who are launching the firm’s new Education Law and Student Defense Practice. They join the firm with extensive experience in the complex legal issues facing students and professionals, combining the specialties of special education law, higher education law, Title IX, and criminal defense. Susan and Kristina’s holistic team approach is unlike any other education practice in the country.
“Our education law practice is dedicated to helping individuals when they need legal counsel to act fast to protect their education, reputation, career and even liberty,” says Susan. “We are ready to fight when people’s futures are threatened.”
Susan and Kristina defend clients facing such issues as expulsion or suspension, termination from employment, or criminal prosecution. They also champion the rights of individuals in school settings who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder and other protected disabilities.
“We are fierce advocates for those needing effective legal representation, but we also deliver client service with compassion,” says Kristina. “Often matters arise that require immediate attention, and we work to ensure that there is always a team member by our client’s side.”
Susan and Kristina provide skilled representation in the following areas:
Susan and Kristina help clients navigate the difficult Title IX process at colleges and universities. Whether a student files a complaint (referred to as a complainant) or is accused of violating a school’s sexual misconduct policy (referred to as a respondent), they work to ensure that the student’s due process rights are protected and that the student receives the support needed during the proceedings.
“We’ve stepped into cases where the investigation did not yield the result a student hoped for, and have taken a fresh look at the case to file administrative Title IX appeals, and if necessary, pursue litigation,” says Susan. “Along the way, we make sure our clients have the emotional support needed to enable them to maintain their academic and professional commitments.”
Susan and Kristina also have significant experience representing professors and other professionals accused of sexual harassment and other forms of wrongdoing. “For these individuals, a lifetime of professional accomplishments and financial security are at risk,” Kristina says. “We advocate for our clients to ensure that matters are handled effectively and with as much confidentiality as possible.”
Whether the criminal charges involve juvenile court proceedings, felony offenses, or complex white collar offenses, Susan and Kristina have the experience and resources required to battle criminal accusations by delving into previously unfound exculpatory evidence in order to create the most aggressive defense possible. “Few people truly understand the devastation connected to criminal prosecution,” says Kristina. “Nothing is more important than liberty. Simply put, we are ready to defend when our clients face the worst circumstances imaginable.”
Susan and Kristina are also experienced in handling parallel proceedings that involve criminal investigation and prosecution and either a civil action for monetary damages or Title IX investigation. They have successfully filed and defended against civil actions, while simultaneously participating in school administrative processes.
“An aggressive civil offense can often be the best defense,” says Susan. “When necessary, we file defamation actions to protect the reputation of our clients, as well as affirmative injunctions to ensure that damaging language is removed from the internet.” Susan and Kristina are also prepared to seek monetary damages to compensate clients when they have suffered from wrongful statements or accusations that can impact a career or college experience.
Special Education Services
“We understand how difficult it can be to ensure that a student with disabilities receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE),” says Susan. “No two students are the same, so we work with a team of professionals who are skilled at assessing what level of support is needed. Some students are twice exceptional and can be overlooked for services. Other students suffer in silence with overwhelming depression and anxiety.”
Susan and Kristina also serve the parents of students with complex problems such as autism, ADHD and other neurological impairments that schools fail to recognize. This representation includes challenging school districts by filing a due process complaint or by pursuing litigation on behalf of students between the ages of 3 and 22 who are not receiving the right services.
Education Misconduct/Disciplinary Proceedings
“From elementary school to graduate school, students make mistakes and face circumstances that can alter their academic path,” Kristina says. “We handle a range of misconduct issues that can irrevocably affect a student’s transcript and future.” This includes matters involving bullying, social media misuse, academic misconduct and professionalism at the later stages of one’s academic career, helping students maintain their chosen path to success.