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Partner - Gwen J. Zittoun

Gwen J. Zittoun

Partner

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A member of Shipman’s robust School Law Practice Group, Gwen Zittoun represents the firm’s 100+ boards of education and public school districts in legal matters related to student data privacy and confidentiality, contracts and board policies, Title IX compliance, special education, and general education matters. Serving in a counselor role, Gwen brings transparency and collaboration to the client relationship. She focuses on finding solutions to common and complex problems, while helping schools avoid costly litigation. Gwen spends considerable time and effort educating her clients to ensure that they are able to solve the legal and business challenges they confront in an ever-changing education landscape.  

Gwen takes a proactive approach representing schools that, with the advent of apps, online programs, and distance learning, find themselves navigating a fast-paced, digital landscape. Gwen simplifies client adoption of new software and apps, by analyzing and drafting vendor contracts and model documents to ensure compliance with federal law and Connecticut’s nuanced Student Data Privacy Law. She develops model contracts for onboarding large vendors, service providers and apps that operate on a national scale and smaller providers of educational software that collect student data for educational and extracurricular purposes. To the benefit of her clients, Gwen maintains an active role with Connecticut’s Commission for Educational Technology, often lending her knowledge to assist with the interpretation of Connecticut’s Student Data Privacy Law.

Gwen’s experience drafting and reviewing contracts extends to COVID-related, crisis response and other vendor agreements. Drawing on her collective knowledge and depth of practice, Gwen strategizes in advance of receiving client questions and develops sample documents to address the myriad of issues presented in education contracts, including contracts during the COVID-19 pandemic; special education and outplacement contracts; and student data privacy contracts. With an emphasis on keeping schools legally protected and out of the public eye, Gwen identifies important contractual requirements, including background checks, upfront. In addition, Gwen’s school clients receive the collective experience of cross-disciplinary lawyers from various practices across the firm who advise schools on contract matters.  

Education is a key pillar of Gwen’s practice, and schools benefit from her dedication to drafting and maintaining Shipman’s Model Policies, an extensive collection of sample policies on student and faculty topics ranging from bullying prevention to school district budgets, currently offered to 50+ public school districts in Connecticut. Gwen’s experience in the area of board policy development and revision has played an important role preparing Connecticut school districts to handle crises and new developments in the law, such as COVID-19 and Title IX. A trusted advisor, Gwen works with school stakeholders to recommend legal or board review of existing policies, to ensure that the district saves valuable time and resources.

Gwen’s commitment to education is evidenced by her decade-long role as Adjunct Professor of the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, where she educated students on general and special education law. She also maintains an active community presence as a member of the Family Advisory Council for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Distinctions

  • Listed as a Connecticut Super Lawyer Rising Star®: Schools & Education (2018)
  • New Leader in the Law, Connecticut Law Tribune (2017)
  • Member, Albany Law Review

Teaching Positions

  • University of Connecticut, Adjunct Professor, Neag School of Education (2007-2018)

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Connecticut Bar Association
  • Hartford County Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Family Advisory Council Member
  • Mandell Jewish Community Center: Board of Directors, Former Member
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Practice Areas

Industries & Featured Services

Education

  • Albany Law School, J.D., 2004,
    summa cum laude
  • Emory University, B.A., 2000

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, District of CT
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of NY

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