Discrimination and civil rights disputes raise difficult challenges and complex issues under federal and state law. They also impose high economic and human costs, damage morale, and interfere with work performance. Richard Cole’s Civil Rights Consulting Services promote compliance and early dispute resolution, reduce costs, and help minimize liability risks.
I offer a broad range of high quality civil rights consulting and legal services to governmental agencies, private organizations, and attorneys in civil rights and discrimination-related matters. Based on my extensive government enforcement and private practice litigation experience, I provide these services in employment, law enforcement, education, housing, mortgage lending, banking, health/mental health and in public accommodations. I also offer practical, highly skilled legal assistance to help attorneys and clients successfully pursue or defend civil rights and discrimination cases in administrative agencies and in state and federal courts. In appropriate circumstances, I partner with a law firm or other professional to provide you the assistance you need and deserve.
Cole is a graduate of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) certified train-the-trainer programs, "Preventing Harassment in the Workplace," and "Conducting Internal Discrimination Complaint Investigations."
Independent Investigations: We perform independent, impartial, comprehensive investigations, where personal tensions, credibility conflicts, or key factual disputes interfere with or impede conflict resolution, litigation, or settlement negotiations. After completing investigations, we prepare in-depth reports containing reasoned findings and conclusions.
Compliance Monitoring: We provide independent monitoring services to promote effective implementation of and compliance with court ordered injunctive relief, consent decrees, settlement agreements, and other case-related dispositions. We offer rigorous, independent oversight and analysis that helps prevent violations and ensure prompt redress, where noncompliance occurs.
Individual Counseling: We provide legal advice and assistance in civil rights and discrimination-related matters and counsel supervisors and employees on their legal obligations where concerns have been raised about their personal interactions or practices, helping reduce an employers’ exposure to civil liability.
Systemic Counseling: We work with employers in building the internal capacity to prevent legal violations. We help develop effective policies, practices, and systems; facilitate change in workplace climate; promote effective corrective action; and improve supervisors’ skills in identifying and responding to harassment and discrimination.
Prevention Training: We offer effective, practical-oriented anti-discrimination, investigation, and risk-management training and counseling to prevent legal violations and costly litigation.
Investigation Training: We offer a unique, highly interactive investigative-training program designed for professionals seeking the practical skills for effectively investigating and making determinations in response to reports or complaints of harassment and discrimination in K-12 schools, higher education, employment, or other settings on account of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or disability. To build practical investigative skills, participants actively “investigate” a complaint, perform investigative interviews, and make investigative findings based on a challenging and realistic case scenario. During the interview segments of the program, the instructor provides feedback about interviewing strategies and questions, while demonstrating effective questioning techniques.
Risk Management Audits: We assess prevention policies and practices, analyze internal investigations and investigative protocols, evaluate internal monitoring and data tracking systems, and examine internal complaints and legal claims to identify systemic issues and potential legal violations that create exposure to legal claims and large compensatory and punitive damage awards.
Litigation Assessments: We offer cost-effective assessments of the merits and potential value of civil rights and discrimination claims, enabling government entities and private litigants to better assess liability risks and financial exposure and avoid costly and unnecessary litigation.
Litigation Assistance: We provide valuable discovery, fact development, and case strategy assistance to government and private attorneys and their clients in prosecuting and defending civil rights and discrimination cases in administrative agencies and courts. Among the services are the following:
- Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of factual positions and legal claims asserted by parties, while providing insight into case strategies, factual disputes, and settlement goals;
- Developing and implementing effective discovery strategies; and
- Helping prepare key witnesses for deposition and trial through simulated examinations and by identifying likely lines of inquiry and witness strengths and vulnerabilities.
Litigation Co-Counseling: We provide high quality, collaborative co-counseling to private and government attorneys in civil rights and discrimination cases in court and administrative agencies.
Advocacy: We provide highly skilled legal guidance and advice to help Massachusetts residents successfully resolve disputes in civil rights and discrimination matters through creative strategies promoting early dispute resolution. Where dispute-resolution requires litigation, I will partner with a law firm or attorney to provide you the litigation assistance you need and deserve.