Cozen O’Connor: Smith, Gina Maisto

Gina Maisto Smith

Chair, Institutional Response Group


(215) 665-5540

(215) 665-2013

Gina will be speaking at an upcoming event:

Protection of Minors in Higher Education: Conducting a SelfGuided Audit to Inform Policies, Procedures and Practices

Burlington, VT 10/15/2019

Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez will be speaking at the University of Vermont Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference.

Event Details 

Gina 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.


Colleges Turn to Law Firms to Sort Out Campus Crime Reporting

July 15, 2019

Gina Maisto Smith discussed with Big Law Business about the team of lawyers that law firms use for handling matters for schools.

Gina Maisto Smith Selected Among the Nation’s 100 Most Influential Lawyers

July 20, 2018

Gina Maisto Smith, chair of Cozen O'Connor’s Institutional Response Group, has been selected to The Business Journals’ Influencers: Law list, a list that spotlights 100 executives who have an impact on business and legal matters in communities across the nation.

A Legal Industry Built on Private School Sex Abuse

September 28, 2017

Gina Maisto Smith, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Institutional Response Group and Leslie Gomez, vice chair, discussed in The New York Times the investigations that have taken place in private schools for sexual abuse.

Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Five Lawyers Nationally Renowned in the Institutional Response to Misconduct

February 06, 2017

Lawyers will launch expanded practice focusing on holistic responses to sexual and gender-based harassment and violence, child abuse, and other misconduct

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

Protection of Minors in Higher Education: Conducting a SelfGuided Audit to Inform Policies, Procedures and Practices

October 15, 2019 - Burlington, VT

Gina Maisto Smith and Leslie Gomez will be speaking at the University of Vermont Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference.

Past Events

Title IX and VAWA Regulations

June 10, 2019 - Berkeley, CA

2018 Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference

October 15, 2018 - Burlington, VT

Title IX Investigator Training

September 24, 2018 - South Orange, NJ

Master the Disaster

July 19, 2018 - Schaumburg, IL

Creating a Culture of Compliance

June 06, 2018 - Asheville, NC

Hot Issues in Labor and Employment Law

April 17, 2018 - Pittsburgh, PA

2018 NAIS Annual Conference

March 07, 2018 - Atlanta, GA

2018 Campus Safety and Violence Prevention Forum

March 05, 2018 - Portsmouth, VA

National Conference on Law and Higher Education

February 05, 2018 - Clearwater Beach, Florida

Legal Issues in Higher Education Conference

October 09, 2017 - Burlington, VT

2017 CWAG Annual Meeting

July 30, 2017 - San Francisco, CA

2017 Thomas More College Inaugural Conference

July 18, 2017 - Crestview Hills, KY

NACUA Annual Conference 2017

June 25, 2017 - Chicago, IL

2017 Regional Rules Seminars

May 16, 2017 - Indianapolis, IN

From Prevention to Best Practices

May 08, 2017 - Austin, TX


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