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Laurel Gift

Partner with Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis

    Laurel Gift

    Laurel Gift is a partner in the Litigation Services Department and chairs the Criminal Defense and Internal Investigation practice group. She concentrates her practice in the area of internal investigations for institutions of high education, municipalities, and private businesses and representing corporate and individual clients in a variety of criminal matters.

    Ms. Gift’s internal investigations practice includes representation of institutions of higher education during sensitive and potentially volatile allegations. Her work includes crafting comprehensive investigation plans and overseeing all aspects of investigative work. Ensuring investigative integrity serves as her guidepost as she conducts and oversees investigations.

    Ms. Gift’s criminal defense practice includes representation of individual and corporate clients who are under investigation by state and federal law enforcement. She represents witnesses and targets of investigations before state investigating grand juries and federal indicting grand juries. Ms. Gift has represented pharmacists, medical providers, and medical practice groups during investigations relating to prescription drug practices.

    Ms. Gift also provides ethics and compliance counseling to individual and corporate clients. She has represented engineering companies in the design and implementation of corporate ethics programs. She has counseled individuals under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission and state licensing boards.

    Before entering private practice, Ms. Gift served as a Senior Deputy Attorney General for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and as an Assistant District Attorney in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

    Recipient of the Burton Award for the Finest Law Firm Writers of 2018

    • Conducted an internal investigation for a large public university arising out of misconduct in an athletics program, which positioned the university to respond, make public comment when appropriate, and effect positive change.
    • Successfully represented witnesses and targets of a statewide investigation of the failure to report and respond to child abuse by religious organizations.
    • Represented the dean of a mid-size public university during a joint investigation by the PA State Ethics Commission and Office of Attorney General, which resulted in the conclusion of both investigations without legal action.
    • Represented individual and corporate tax payers during a criminal IRS investigation for under reporting and failing to report income, which resulted in the closure of the investigation without criminal charges or civil penalties.
    • Conducted an internal investigation for a small church relating to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. The comprehensive investigation allowed church leaders to make critical employment decisions, improve upon existing policies, and document their efforts to protect children.
    • Conducted an internal investigation for a college concerning allegations of sexual misconduct by former personnel, which positioned the university to respond effectively, document its response, and ensure that its students were adequately protected.
    • Conduct internal investigations for municipal school districts in Western Pennsylvania in response to allegations ranging from teacher misconduct with students to waste, fraud and abuse. Investigations positioned local school district to effectively and decisively respond to allegations.
    • Successfully represented individual witnesses and employees of a large public university during criminal investigations of fraternity hazing.
    • Implement code of business ethics for national engineering firm, which positioned the client to compete for federal contracts.
    • Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member, 2014-present; Allegheny Chapter Founder and Chairperson, 2016-present; Advocacy Committee Co-Chair, 2018-present; State Board of Directors, 2018-present
    • Allegheny County Bar Association, Member
    • Hastings College of the Law, J.D., 2000
    • University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A., Legal Studies and Environmental Studies, 1997

    Ms. Gift’s community and pro bono focus is on criminal justice reform and access to justice. She represents a juvenile life prisoner seeking a new sentence following the Miller and Montgomery decisions. She works with the Innocence Project in raising claims of actual innocence. Ms. Gift also taught Constitutional Law to students in grades 6-8 attending the Manchester Charter Academy.

    • State Board of Directors, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Chairperson, Allegheny County Chapter, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Member, Fellows Program, Allegheny County Bar Foundation
    • The Himalayan Institute, Certified Yoga Instructor, 2004-present
    • Steel City Boxing Association, Volunteer, 2012-2015
    • The Sprout Fund, Advisory Board Member, 2004-2008
    Overview

    Ms. Gift’s internal investigations practice includes representation of institutions of higher education during sensitive and potentially volatile allegations. Her work includes crafting comprehensive investigation plans and overseeing all aspects of investigative work. Ensuring investigative integrity serves as her guidepost as she conducts and oversees investigations.

    Ms. Gift’s criminal defense practice includes representation of individual and corporate clients who are under investigation by state and federal law enforcement. She represents witnesses and targets of investigations before state investigating grand juries and federal indicting grand juries. Ms. Gift has represented pharmacists, medical providers, and medical practice groups during investigations relating to prescription drug practices.

    Ms. Gift also provides ethics and compliance counseling to individual and corporate clients. She has represented engineering companies in the design and implementation of corporate ethics programs. She has counseled individuals under investigation by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission and state licensing boards.

    Before entering private practice, Ms. Gift served as a Senior Deputy Attorney General for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and as an Assistant District Attorney in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

    Recipient of the Burton Award for the Finest Law Firm Writers of 2018

    AREAS OF EXPERIENCE
    • Conducted an internal investigation for a large public university arising out of misconduct in an athletics program, which positioned the university to respond, make public comment when appropriate, and effect positive change.
    • Successfully represented witnesses and targets of a statewide investigation of the failure to report and respond to child abuse by religious organizations.
    • Represented the dean of a mid-size public university during a joint investigation by the PA State Ethics Commission and Office of Attorney General, which resulted in the conclusion of both investigations without legal action.
    • Represented individual and corporate tax payers during a criminal IRS investigation for under reporting and failing to report income, which resulted in the closure of the investigation without criminal charges or civil penalties.
    • Conducted an internal investigation for a small church relating to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors. The comprehensive investigation allowed church leaders to make critical employment decisions, improve upon existing policies, and document their efforts to protect children.
    • Conducted an internal investigation for a college concerning allegations of sexual misconduct by former personnel, which positioned the university to respond effectively, document its response, and ensure that its students were adequately protected.
    • Conduct internal investigations for municipal school districts in Western Pennsylvania in response to allegations ranging from teacher misconduct with students to waste, fraud and abuse. Investigations positioned local school district to effectively and decisively respond to allegations.
    • Successfully represented individual witnesses and employees of a large public university during criminal investigations of fraternity hazing.
    • Implement code of business ethics for national engineering firm, which positioned the client to compete for federal contracts.
    Professional Affiliations
    • Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member, 2014-present; Allegheny Chapter Founder and Chairperson, 2016-present; Advocacy Committee Co-Chair, 2018-present; State Board of Directors, 2018-present
    • Allegheny County Bar Association, Member
    Education
    • Hastings College of the Law, J.D., 2000
    • University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A., Legal Studies and Environmental Studies, 1997
    Practice Areas
    COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES

    Ms. Gift’s community and pro bono focus is on criminal justice reform and access to justice. She represents a juvenile life prisoner seeking a new sentence following the Miller and Montgomery decisions. She works with the Innocence Project in raising claims of actual innocence. Ms. Gift also taught Constitutional Law to students in grades 6-8 attending the Manchester Charter Academy.

    • State Board of Directors, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Chairperson, Allegheny County Chapter, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
    • Member, Fellows Program, Allegheny County Bar Foundation
    • The Himalayan Institute, Certified Yoga Instructor, 2004-present
    • Steel City Boxing Association, Volunteer, 2012-2015
    • The Sprout Fund, Advisory Board Member, 2004-2008
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