Meet Kai, Co-Chair of the Labor and Employment Group, experienced education attorney and impartial investigator in sensitive misconduct matters.
207 228-7116 direct
207 774-1200 main
207 774-1127 facsimile
100 Middle Street
PO Box 9729
Portland, ME 04104-5029
Labor and Employment Law Practice Group
Title IX Investigations
Labor & Employment
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Workplace and Campus Investigations & Consulting
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America ® 2021
Employment Law – Management
- Recognized in Chambers USA (2020) – Labor and Employment Law
- Named New England Rising Star 2014 by Super Lawyers
Here’s why you’ll enjoy working with her.
Kai’s practice focuses on representing and counseling educational institutions on all aspects of employment and student matters. Kai is also a sought-after external investigator in sensitive and high-profile misconduct cases throughout the country. She has conducted and overseen hundreds of investigations involving sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination and other improper conduct.
Kai is ranked in the 2020 Chambers USA© directory for Labor and Employment in Maine. Chambers USA is a prestigious directory of the nation’s top law firms and business lawyers that annually ranks both lawyers and firms across the United States of America. Individuals are ranked in their practice-area(s) on the basis of their legal knowledge and experience, their ability, their effectiveness, and their client-service. After an extensive research process, Chambers noted that Kai is referred to as a “Title IX guru” and “renowned” for being a “careful, capable and thoughtful investigator.” Another client noted, “She’s fabulous. She is responsive, very thoughtful, and helps us to consider everything in the context of how our culture works.” Click here to view Kai’s 2020 Chambers review.
Counselor for Institutions of Higher Education and Secondary Schools
Kai serves as primary outside counsel to a number of higher education institutions and independent secondary schools. She regularly assists school clients with risk management and crisis response. She also has extensive experience consulting on employment, student affairs, faculty tenure, Title IX compliance and FERPA issues. A litigator by background, Kai has defended schools in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, faculty tenure, and breach of contract cases in both state and federal court. Kai is a frequent speaker on education law issues, including at the Independent School Association of Northern New England and Maine Association of Independent Schools.
Impartial, External Investigator & Title IX Consultant and Trainer
A significant portion of Kai’s practice is dedicated to conducting neutral, external investigations for educational institutions, companies and non-profit organizations. Kai is frequently called upon to investigate misconduct complaints involving students, faculty, senior-level personnel, coaches, and athletes. Among others, Kai serves as a neutral investigator/adjudicator for Bowdoin College, Davidson College, and many other schools and organizations around the country. Kai is an approved sexual misconduct investigator by United Educators, and serves as a frequent consultant for educational institutions seeking advice on risk management. In addition to conducting external investigations, Kai serves as a hearing and appeal officer in sexual misconduct proceedings, as well as facilitates informal resolutions.
Kai regularly provides consulting services and training workshops to colleges, universities, and secondary schools throughout the Northeast on best practices related to preventing, investigating, and responding to sexual misconduct. She is also a frequent commentator on student sexual assault and has been quoted in the Washington Post, ESPN and BuzzFeed.
But that’s not all. Kai is also very experienced in:
- Representing schools and companies in contentious employment litigation in state and federal court, including prevailing in a jury trial in the United States District Court of Maine on behalf of a multinational employer in a disability discrimination case
- Defending employers in discrimination, harassment, and retaliation cases before the Maine Human Rights Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Representing schools in Title IX complaints before the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
- Working with colleges, universities, and independent secondary schools on preventative training, policy development, compliance issues, and crisis management, especially in the area of educator and student sexual misconduct
- Drafting handbooks, policies, and procedures for businesses in accordance with employment laws and best practices
In her former life, Kai was:
Working in her family-owned ski shops. She has practiced at Bernstein Shur since law school.
When Kai isn’t working, she is…
Supporting The Telling Room, a nonprofit writing center for children in Portland, Maine. True to her Vermont roots, she enjoys Alpine, Nordic, and backcountry skiing, as well as hiking and training for marathons and triathlons.
Recent Speaking Engagements:
Kai has had countless speaking engagements over the past few years throughout New England and across the country about Title IX. She has hosted multiple in-person interactive trainings for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education. The following is a selected list of recent speaking engagements:
- 2020: Safe Sport International Conference in Quebec City Canada, Conducting Investigations into Athlete Abuse (postponed due to COVID)
- 2020: Presented Bi-Weekly COVID-19 Webinars for Heads of Schools, ISANNE
- 2020: Presented “The Title IX Regulations: What Do They Mean for Independent Schools?” ISANNE Heads of School and Business Officers
- 2019: Led Title IX Training for Adjudicators/Hearing Officers at several Private Colleges
- 2019: Presented “The Story That’s Hard to Tell: Confidentiality, the Media and #MeToo” at Annual Title IX Training at Public University System
- 2019: Conducted Faculty and Staff Title IX Training at several Private Colleges
- 2019: Sexual Misconduct Response and Investigation Training for K-12 Schools at Bernstein Shur
- 2019: Title IX Response and Investigation Training for Colleges and Universities at Bernstein Shur
- 2019: Presentation to Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada on Processes for Investigating Athlete Abuse, Montreal, Canada
- 2018: Led Title IX Training for Adjudicators and Hearing Panels at several Private Colleges
- 2018: Presented on “Best Practice in Hiring and Enrollment Contracts,” Maine Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference
- 2017: Presented on “Employee Background Checks and Mandatory Reporting,” Maine Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference
- 2017: Led Sexual Misconduct Investigations Training at Private College
- 2017: Led Investigation Training at several Private Boarding Schools
- 2016: Panelist at the Sports Lawyers Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California and spoke on the topic of “Off Field Athlete Conduct Issues: Sexual & Domestic Violence” The panel was moderated by an ESPN reporter, Jane McManus
- 2016: Presented “Understanding the Legal Side of Sexual Assault” at K-12 public school
- 2016: Presented “Update and Next Steps for Independent Schools Addressing Sexual Misconduct” at Heads and Academic Leaders Conference, Independent School Association of Northern New England (ISANNE)
- 2016: Co-presented at a day-long ISANNE workshop titled, “Keeping Students Safe: Best Practices in Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct”
- 2016: Presented on “Employment Contracts in Independent Schools,” ISANNE Business Officers Conference
- United Educators Title IX Compliant Policy & Grievance Procedure Checklists (2020)
- Joint Guidance on Federal Title IX Regulations, SUNY Student Conduct Institute (2020)
- EduRisk by United Educators; Best Practices: A Checklist for Campus Sexual Harassment Investigations (2019)
- JD, University of Maine School of Law, 2007, magna cum laude
- Case note and comment editor, Maine Law Review
- BA, English Major, Davidson College, 2003
Admitted to practice
- States of Maine, New Hampshire
- Commonwealth of Massachusetts
- US District Court, District of Maine
- US District Court, District of Massachusetts
- First Circuit Court of Appeals
Maine State Bar Association (Labor and Employment Section)
National Association of College and University Attorneys
Student Conduct Institute Member
Society for Human Resources Management
Association of Workplace Investigators
The Telling Room (Former Board Member)