Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Devon Turner Riley to its Institutional Response Group

Monday, August 7, 2017

Philadelphia, August 7, 2017 — Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce Devon Turner Riley has joined the firm as a member of its new and expanding Institutional Response Group (IRG). Riley, who will be based in Philadelphia, comes to Cozen O’Connor from Nexsen Pruet, where she counseled colleges, universities, and other educational institutions on federal and state regulatory compliance issues related to child abuse, sexual violence, and interpersonal violence. Riley previously worked with Gina Maisto Smith, chair of the IRG, and Leslie M. Gomez, vice chair of the IRG, at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in the Family Violence Sexual Assault Unit. 

“I am excited to join the Institutional Response Group at Cozen O’Connor,” said Riley. “Gina and Leslie are stars in this field. Their practice is highly regarded and I look forward to working with them again.”

A former family violence, sexual assault and child abuse prosecutor, Riley brings substantial experience conducting investigations on behalf of educational institutions involving sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual and gender-based harassment in both K-12 and higher education institutions, pursuant to Title IX, the Clery Act and other state and federal regulations. She also chairs sexual misconduct hearing boards responsible for adjudicating and sanctioning Title IX violations on many campuses and has helped numerous colleges and universities develop or update related student conduct policies.

As a member of the IRG, Riley will conduct Title IX related investigations into sexual and gender-based harassment and interpersonal violence; counsel K-12 and higher education and medical institutions conducting internal Title IX investigations and adjudications; and help institutions audit existing policies and meet Title IX, Clery, and other regulatory compliance measures. She will also continue to serve as chair or adviser to hearing panels, provide trauma-informed training for Title IX investigators and adjudicators, and provide guidance on institutional governance and effective responses. 

“We are thrilled to have Devon join the Institutional Response Group,” said Smith. “A primary focus of the group involves designing, implementing, and enhancing institutional responses to misconduct. With her experience as a prosecutor and investigator, Devon is uniquely qualified to step into that role and help educational and other institutions do just that.”

Riley is the latest attorney to join the IRG, which continues to expand rapidly. Last week a business subsidiary of Cozen O’Connor acquired Margolis Healy & Associates, LLC, a leading consulting firm that serves universities, colleges, K-12 schools, government agencies, and private entities across the country on matters of compliance, safety, and security. Margolis Healy has managed numerous high profile higher education cases, including at institutions undergoing U.S Department of Education Clery Act and Title IX compliance reviews. In June, the IRG hired John DiPaolo, former deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Education.

“The issues related to effective implementation of the ever-evolving regulatory framework continue to present challenges for educational institutions,” said Gomez. “I have known and worked with Devon throughout her 13-year legal career, both at the District Attorney’s Office and in private practice. Devon brings a strong track record of partnering with colleges and universities, helping them establish implement policies and leading highly sensitive internal investigations and adjudications.”

Before joining Nexsen Pruet, Riley was an associate at Morgan Lewis & Bockius, where she conducted internal investigations for non-profit and child serving institutions and developed a sub-practice group that helped colleges and universities draft policies and procedures for investigating sexual assault allegations and complying with reporting requirements under federal and state law.

Riley holds an LL.M from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia and a J.D. from the Duquesne University School of Law, Pittsburgh.

About Cozen O’Connor

Established in 1970 and ranked among the top 100 law firms in America, Cozen O’Connor has more than 600 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and middle market companies, Cozen O’Connor services its clients’ needs through 26 offices across two continents.



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