Christine M. Pickel
609-396-8257 x305 phone
After a decade with an AmLaw 200 law firm, Ms. Pickel joined Backes & Hill, LLP in 2016. Ms. Pickel conducts internal and external investigations, defends clients in litigation, and advises on issues of regulatory compliance.
Ms. Pickel conducts investigations on a wide range of issues, including allegations of sexual assault and harassment under Title IX, workplace violence and bullying, and employment discrimination based on protected class primarily for higher education institutions, corporations and non-profit entities. She understands the fundamental importance of, and challenges inherent in, navigating Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, the Clery Act, VAWA, and FERPA. In these contexts, she works with clients to draft policies, train personnel, and conduct investigations. Clients also routinely seek Ms. Pickel’s counsel on issues related issues involving employee discipline and providing reasonable accommodations under the ADA.
As an experienced litigator, Ms. Pickel regularly represents entities and individuals defending against claims of breach of contract, negligence, personal injury, premises liability, and student bullying in the K-12 context. Ms. Pickel’s background in regulatory compliance, investigations, white collar criminal defense, complex commercial litigation, and appellate practice provides a broad base of experience for analyzing and resolving each new matter her clients encounter.
- Served as Interim Assistant Vice-President of Equity & Diversity/Title IX Coordinator at a large New Jersey university, where responsibilities included oversight of Title IX, Title VI and employment discrimination investigations, drafting and implementation of harassment and discrimination policies, evaluation of requests for accommodations under the ADA, and advising on Clery Act-related issues.
- Worked with multi-disciplinary team to respond to broad-ranging allegations of Clery Act violations by the Department of Education against a large Pennsylvania university.
- Litigated dozens of long-term disability and life insurance claims under ERISA in federal court.
- Handles corporate matters including contract negotiation, entity formation, and policy development for non-profit entities including churches and private schools.
- Represents clients in matters before the Appellate Division on issues including charitable immunity and employment discrimination.
Ms. Pickel has been a frequent contributor to various publications on topics ranging from regulatory compliance, criminal law, and litigation strategy to best practices for reducing conflicts of interest and conducting internal investigations.
Bar Admissions and Affiliations:
District of New Jersey
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Third Circuit Court of Appeals
New Jersey Bar Association
National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
Education and Clerkships:
J.D., with high honors, Rutgers University School of Law – Camden, 2004
B.A., with honors, The College of New Jersey, 2001
Law Clerk for the Supreme Court of New Jersey (Justice James R. Zazzali, ret’d), 2004-2005