An article in the New York Times on February 9, 2017, “Stanford drops lawyer who advised students in sexual assault cases,” quotes RBGG’s Michael Bien about the dismissal of a lawyer, Crystal Riggins, from a panel of six lawyers Stanford University has on retainer to provide legal guidance to students involved in complaints about sexual assaults. Riggins was dropped from the panel after publicly characterizing Stanford’s internal process for handling complaints as being too favorable to those accused of sexual assault.
According to the Times: “Michael W. Bien, a San Francisco-based lawyer, has guided several accusers through the sexual assault proceedings at Stanford. Bien, too, criticized Stanford’s unanimous-decision standard, saying it was “virtually impossible” to get a favorable decision. He is not on the list of Stanford’s sponsored lawyers and said the university was running the risk of eroding the lawyers’ credibility by retaliating against dissenting opinions, as it appears Stanford did by removing Riggins from the panel.
The university should not be able to regulate what the sponsored lawyers say, or how they handle their clients, Bien said.
“It makes the panel look like a sham,” he said.”