Pamela W. Connelly came to Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky (SMGG) after serving as an executive administrator and in-house litigation counsel at the University of Pittsburgh for 18 years. In addition to her rich experience in higher education, Ms. Connelly is a seasoned litigator, advises on employment matters, including employee discipline and separation, as well as issues involving institutional policies and board governance.
Described by her clients as “fearless, focused, and fierce,” Ms. Connelly is a trusted advisor through times of crisis. Entrusted time and again with complex, high risk and high publicity matters, Ms. Connelly has deep experience and an insider’s perspective in advising on a wide array of legal issues with a goal of providing mission-based and value driven results.
During her time as a vice chancellor at a large public research university, Ms. Connelly focused on the development, oversight, and coordination of university-wide efforts relating to Institutional Equity, Title IX (sexual misconduct), Civil Rights, and Digital Accessibility. As the University’s litigation counsel for over a decade, she was lead counsel in all a wide variety of state and federal court cases, including breach of contract, employment, discrimination, commercial disputes, injunctions, as well as tort cases.
Pam advises and defends institutions on matters affecting daily operations and compliance with federal and state laws as well as best practices. Pam provides counsel to institutions on the creation of internal policies, systems, and practices designed to minimize legal exposure and conducts internal investigations into employee misconduct, student misconduct, and #MeToo allegations of historic sexual abuse.
Outside of her legal practice, Pam is passionate about live music, civil rights and engagement, and support of the arts. She lives in Mt. Lebanon with her two children.
Designed and implemented Title IX compliance programs
Defended and successfully resolved Title IX and sexual misconduct claims
Successfully defended university in federal wrongful discharge case by Division I Head football coach
Successfully defended university in multi-jurisdictional research fraud case
Successfully defended tenure denial cases in federal court
Designed the processes and system for degree revocation
Handled defense of governmental complaints, including Office of Civil Rights complaints and Department of Energy audits, and OFCCP compliance reviews
Developed protocols on civil rights investigations
Led numerous internal investigations into a broad array of allegations
Developed protocols on handling free speech conflicts
Accomplished speaker on many issues impacting educational institutions, including issues of Title IX, conducting effective investigations, disabilities and accommodation, Free Speech and Due Process