Stephen J. Vaughan

Stephen J. Vaughan Image
Direct: 202.295.2208 (D.C.); 612.632.3366 (Minneapolis)

Support Staff

Jacqueline D. LeGrant
Direct: 202.295.2207

Stephen Vaughan advises colleges and universities on a variety of legal and compliance issues that are specific to higher education institutions, including Title IX, the Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, student affairs, and faculty issues. Stephen has extensive experience conducting compliance reviews, drafting policies, and advising higher education clients, including their counsel, Title IX coordinators and teams, investigators, adjudicators, appeal officers, and others, on all matters pertaining to sexual harassment and the sexual misconduct process, among other policy and code of conduct violations. Through trainED, Stephen also regularly provides training mandated by federal and state law and other specialized training to institutions nationwide.

Stephen’s higher education experience extends to the courtroom as well, where he defends higher education institutions in Title IX lawsuits, particularly those related to the institutions’ adjudications of and determinations in sexual misconduct proceedings. 

Stephen also advises clients on a wide range of employment law issues, including terminations, employment and severance agreements, employment-related claims, worker classification, post-termination covenants against competition, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary and other duties, fraud, tortious interference, and trademark infringement. He has successfully argued motions for preliminary injunctive relief in a variety of contexts, and he has served as first chair and co-chair in federal and state courts trials on behalf of the firm’s clients.

In addition, Stephen has significant investigation experience, including conducting internal investigations and defending corporations, individuals, and higher education institutions in investigations conducted by Congress, the Department of Justice, United States attorneys and attorneys general of numerous states, and other state and federal agencies.


Stephen has represented employers in a wide range of matters involving litigation and investigations, including:

  • Conducted numerous investigations of allegations of sexual misconduct involving students and/or faculty at higher education institutions
  • Conducted numerous hazing and related sexual harassment investigations involving college students and college organizations
  • Conducted investigations of faculty members for policy violations
  • Drafted harassment and sexual misconduct policies
  • Defended multinational company in a state court trial involving tortious interference and other employment law claims (verdict in client’s favor on all counts, upheld on appeal)
  • Represented a corporation in an internal investigation of allegations of sexual harassment, fraud, embezzlement, breach of duty, and potential violations of federal statutes and subsequent related federal court litigation
  • Represented owner and company in trial in Virginia state court on fraud, embezzlement, and derivative claims against co-owner (verdict in clients’ favor on all counts)
  • Represented higher education institution in connection with a two-year investigation conducted by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee with no material adverse findings against the institution
  • Represented franchisor in trial in federal court in New Jersey concerning termination of the franchises for violations of tax and employment laws (verdict in clients’ favor on all counts)
  • Represented large national companies in federal and state courts nationwide in preliminary injunctions concerning breach of contract, covenants against competition, and business torts
  • Represented franchisors in trial in federal court in Florida concerning the termination of the franchises for fraud (verdict in clients’ favor on all counts, upheld on appeal)
  • Represented interests of national restaurant and its employees related to a criminal proceeding in the District of Columbia
  • Represented national health care corporation in internal investigation of its practices as they related to the meningitis outbreak
  • Represented national health care provider in civil qui tam action brought in federal court in the State of Washington alleging violations of Stark and Anti-kickback laws
  • Represented former director to a Congressional member in Congressional ethics investigation
  • Represented key witness in the Department of Justice’s investigation in California of a law firm for alleged improprieties in class action litigation
  • Represented subject of the District of Columbia’s investigation into a mass transit accident that resulted in a passenger’s death
back to top