Cozen O’Connor: DiPaolo, John K.

John K. DiPaolo


San Francisco

(202) 304-1455

(415) 644-0978

John counsels colleges, universities and school systems on a range of legal issues, including compliance with civil rights laws and federal regulatory obligations. He draws on senior-level experience in the federal government and at educational institutions to understand and advance clients’ strategic goals. He helps institutions build and strengthen their capacity to promote equity and protect the rights of all students. John also has experience in free speech, FERPA, Title IV, and freedom of information issues.

John joined the Institutional Response Group from the U.S. Department of Education where he was most recently deputy general counsel for postsecondary education, managing the department’s higher education legal portfolio, which included areas such as the Clery Act, accreditation, and other matters related to the participation of higher education institutions in the federal student aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. He oversaw the team of attorneys responsible for program reviews, enforcement actions, and litigation under Title IV and the development of higher education regulations and policies.

Earlier at the Department of Education, John was chief of staff and deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In the latter role, John led the development of OCR legal guidance on topics including sexual misconduct and other sex discrimination issues under Title IX, racial discrimination under Title VI, and disability discrimination under Title II of the Americans with Disability Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  He also served as acting chief attorney for OCR’s Metro regional office (covering South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia) over a four-month period, during which he led the resolution of 23 over-age cases (ranging from six months to five years old) on topics including university and school district policies and practices to address sexual misconduct, academic adjustments for students with disabilities, and racial discrimination in student discipline.

At the Department of Education, John also helped staff the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. John also took part in the President’s Leadership Workshop, a six-month program created at the direction of President Obama to further develop a cohort of outstanding political appointees selected from across the executive branch. John has presented on Title IX and other equity issues to national conferences including the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. 

John has worked on education matters for more than 20 years in a number of roles. He began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and then was a corporate and transactional associate at a major Boston law firm.

John earned his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was articles editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University, where he received his undergraduate degree in social studies with high honors. He is an adjunct professorial lecturer at American University.


Former Dept. of Education Deputy GC Joins Cozen O’Connor’s Institutional Response Group

June 12, 2017

John DiPaolo worked at the U.S. Department of Education, where he was most recently the deputy general counsel for postsecondary education.

Events & Seminars

Past Events


  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1993
  • Wesleyan University, B.A., high honors, 1989
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • New York

Judge Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit