Gina Smith

Cozen O'Connor PC

$ $$$

Philadelphia 19103 PA US

Gina Maisto Smith focuses her practice on the institutional response to sexual and gender-based harassment and violence, child abuse, and other forms of harassment, discrimination, and criminal conduct. Gina provides consulting, counseling, and legal advice on all aspects of the institutional response to misconduct.

She assists institutions in designing effective institutional responses that integrate the complex federal and state regulatory framework with the unique dynamics of trauma and the impacts of interpersonal violence on individuals and communities.

Gina is frequently called upon to advise institutional clients including presidents, boards, senior leadership, and counsel on the complex intersections of trauma-informed, fair, and impartial processes with the intersecting legal landscape.

She regularly advises educational and child-serving institutions including public and private K-12 schools and colleges and universities about policies, changes in the law, and investigations into allegations of child abuse and sexual misconduct, including sexual violence.

She regularly conducts policy audits and assists in the development of policy and the design and implementation of internal operating procedures. She conducts training for K-12 administrators and multiple university constituencies, including Title IX coordinators, sexual assault response teams, judicial hearing boards, investigators, and members of the campus community.

Gina assists clients with the development of comprehensive policies, procedures, systems, and training programs in compliance with Title IX, Title VII, the Clery Act, as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, and state and local laws.

Gina conducts comprehensive policy audits; drafts policies, procedures, and internal operating protocols; develops and trains multi-disciplinary teams; serves as an adviser to campus task forces and working groups; consults and advises on Title IX investigation, adjudication, and appeal proceedings; and assists educational institutions in meeting federal compliance obligations and responding to investigations by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Clery Compliance Division.

She served on the training subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Education’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and has been designated as an approved equity consultant by OCR.

In addition to her work on sexual assault and intimate partner violence, Gina is nationally recognized for her knowledge and experience related to child sexual and physical abuse, child protection, and child protective services laws.

She frequently advises clients in evaluating and responding to historical allegations of abuse in a legally informed and open and transparent manner designed to promote child safety and welfare. Her experience includes several high-profile external investigations for clients including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, health care institutions, daycare centers, summer camps, and K-12 schools.

Gina conducts training and prevention programs on the identification and prevention of child abuse; provides child protection planning related to background checks, professional boundaries, physical plant, and mandatory reporter policies; coordinates internal investigations with child protective services and local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies; and conducts child abuse investigations.

Before entering private practice, Gina spent nearly two decades in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office where she investigated numerous cases, handled more than 100 jury trials, and developed unmatched experience in the investigation and prosecution of sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence. She also trained prosecutors, investigators, and police handling the most difficult aspect of sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence investigations.

As the senior prosecutor for child abuse and sex crimes litigation, Gina instructed on pretrial investigation, case preparation, evaluating credibility, trial strategy, ethical issues, and the unique dynamics of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, child abuse and stalking, including the neurobiological impacts of trauma. She authored numerous training materials that continue to be used as the core of the District Attorney’s training program.

She has a firm grasp on policy and law with respect to competency, taint, prior bad acts, other crimes evidence, tender years hearsay exceptions, rape shield, physical and medical findings of abuse, forensic issues, alcohol-facilitated sexual assault, non-stranger sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. Gina currently presents education and training programs and CLE programs at educational institutions and conferences across the country.

She is a regular contributor to the Clery Center, National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), College and University Police and Investigators Conference (CUPIC), Stetson University National Conference on Law and Higher Education, the Virginia Campus Safety Forum, University of Vermont Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.

Prior speaking or CLE engagements include the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools, Headmistresses Association of the East, and United Educators.

Recent publications include articles in the ABA’s Dispute Resolution Magazine and Penn State Law Review, as well as a chapter in Campus Sexual Assault Response Teams: Program Development and Operational Management. Gina served for more than a decade as an adjunct professor at Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

She has served as a mentor for second-year law students through the Temple Summer Professional Experience Curriculum, a domestic-violence protocol trainer at the Philadelphia Police Department, and as a guest speaker educating local high school, college, and law students about sexual assault, domestic violence, and legal career topics.

Gina is an adviser to the ALI Project on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct on Campus: Procedural Frameworks and Analysis. In addition to publishing several recent articles on Title IX and related issues, in June of 2016, Gina presented at the New York Times Higher Education Leaders Forum.

Currently, Gina serves on The Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law on the board of directors and previously served on The University of Pennsylvania’s Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice and Research. Gina received her undergraduate degree from Saint Joseph’s University and her law degree from Temple University School of Law.

EDUCATION :

  • Temple University—James E. Beasley School of Law, J.D., 1987
  • St. Joseph’s University, B.A., 1983

BAR ADMISSIONS : Pennsylvania

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Philadelphia 19103 PA US
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