Steven M. Richard

Steven Richard is a highly experienced trial and appellate lawyer who handles complex commercial, higher education, privacy and employment cases throughout the federal and state courts of New England. He is especially active in the Rhode Island Federal District Court, where he has served as the chair of its Local Rules Committee. Steve is also a member of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. He is the co-editor of Nixon Peabody’s Privacy Partner Blog.

What do you focus on?

I handle a broad array of commercial, higher education, privacy and civil rights cases, using more than 20 years of pretrial and courtroom experience to help clients achieve practical and cost-effective solutions. I also have extensive experience in higher education law, handling a wide array of matters for colleges and universities.

Complex Commercial Litigation

I represent diverse institutional clients, including financial service organizations and governmental bodies, in trials, arbitration, appeals and other dispute resolution procedures. With my Masters in Business Education, I understand clients’ business needs and operations and use such knowledge to develop comprehensive litigation strategies. Also, I have a deep understanding of cybersecurity and electronic discovery, and I frequently write and present on the topics.

Higher Education Law

I represent institutions of higher education in matters relating to student discipline, civil rights claims, tenure issues and copyright matters. My practice has included both the development of proper policies on campuses and litigation of cases on behalf of colleges and universities.


I represent employers in matters involving claims under federal and state employment statutes, as well as constitutional and contract claims. I have successfully defended employers before juries in cases raising claims under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Pro Bono

I also devote my practice to the pro bono representation of our veterans, including successfully presenting claims for benefits relating to PTSD claims and exposure to Agent Orange.

What do you see on the horizon?

Title IX compliance issues will remain a subject of national concern and debate in Higher Education Law. In judicial and administrative proceedings, complaints are increasingly challenging institutional policies and procedures to prevent and remediate alleged sexual discrimination in education. Educational institutions will face vexing issues as they apply evolving interpretations of the law to the particular realities of their campuses.


  • Domestic Transaction Test Applied to Private Action under CEA,” Pretrial Practice & Discovery, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, March 2, 2015
  • Picking the Right Summary For Your Electronic Evidence,” E-Discovery Connection, DRI Electronic Discovery Committee newsletter, Volume 9, Issue 3, December 2014
  • Are Insurance Investigative Documents Work-Product-Protected?Pretrial Practice & Discovery, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Vol. 23, No. 1, Fall 2014
  • “Will Remote Trial Testimony Become More Accepted In Civil Trials With Enhanced Technology?” SideBAR, Summer 2014
  • “What Links in an E-Mail Chain Must Be Disclosed,” DRI For the Defense, April 2014
  • “Who Speaks for the Organization at a Deposition?” Providence Business News, June 2013
  • “When defendants can win by losing a case,” Providence Business News, November 2012
  • “Sorting through Electronic Discovery Haystack,” Providence Business News, September 2012

Speeches & Presentations

  • “Balancing the attorney-client privilege and the need for disclosure in a breach response,” IAPP Global Privacy Summit, Washington, DC, April 2016

Wells Fargo’s Cannava asks court to end 38 Studios case

Bond Buyer | April 02, 2019

Boston Government Investigations & White Collar Defense partner Brian Kelly and Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Steven Richard are quoted in this story on their representation of a Wells Fargo banker involved in Rhode Island’s bond placement with 38 Studios.

Clarifying student due process rights at 6th Circuit

Law360 | September 13, 2018

Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Steven Richard wrote this article analyzing a 6th Circuit court ruling that found a student accused of sexual assault on a college campus was deprived of his due process rights.

Continuing violation doctrine' can defeat Title IX limitations defense

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly | September 13, 2018

Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Steven Richard is mentioned in this article for his representation of Brown University in a Title IX case.

Federal bar lauds adoption of ‘Kelvey’ depo standards

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly | August 16, 2018

Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Steven Richard is quoted in this article about a District Court ruling that affirms the Kelvey rules of conduct for depositions, which are already standard among many attorneys in federal court.

Leaving a Trace at Work With Your Biometric Data

Providence Business News | May 24, 2018

Providence commercial litigation partner-elect Steven Richard wrote this column on how biometric data are replacing time cards and passwords as ways for employers to monitor their employees’ activities on the clock.

Law360 names attorneys who moved up the firm ranks in Q1

Law360 | May 07, 2018

In this roundup of promotions to partner and firm management positions, 14 attorneys from Nixon Peabody are highlighted. The 11 attorneys promoted to partner are Ellie Altshuler, Mark Beaudoin, Erik Birkeneder, Hannah Bornstein, Chris Browning, Barry Carrigan, Keri McWilliams, Matt Mullen, Steven Richard, Charles Tamuleviz and Alison Torbitt. In addition, Kenneth C. Lind was promoted to leader of the firms’ public finance practice group, Justin Thompson was promoted to office managing partner in LA, and Aaron Yowell was promoted to chief innovation officer.

Revisiting Title IX process could benefit all lawyers say

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly | October 05, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steven Richard provides commentary in this article about the Trump administration’s Title IX guidance document.

Unaffiliated student can’t bring Title IX damages suit vs. Brown

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly | September 14, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steven Richard is quoted in this article for representing Providence College in a Title IX lawsuit.

10th Circuit rules university is not liable in alleged rape case

Rochester Business Journal | July 28, 2017

Rochester private equity and investment funds partner Jeremy Wolk and Providence commercial litigation counsel Steven Richard contributed this column about a Title IX lawsuit in which the plaintiff alleged deliberate indifference to her complaint by the university.

What businesses need to know about the Internet of things

WJAR-TV (Providence NBC affiliate) | July 13, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steven Richard is interviewed in this television segment about what steps companies can take to better secure their data and be less vulnerable to hacking.

Is your business ready for the Internet of Things?

Providence Business News | June 23, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steve Richard contributed this article on how businesses can leverage the Internet of Things.

California court denies employer’s request to unmask author of anonymous post

SHRM | March 28, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steve Richard contributed this article about a company’s efforts to remove a former employee’s anonymous online post which the company believed revealed company trade secrets.

Cyberthreats looming

Providence Business News | March 17, 2017

Providence commercial litigation counsel Steven Richard authored this column about the types of evolving cyber threats facing businesses and consumers.


Steven M. Richard

Leader, Title IX


Phone: 401-454-1020

Fax: 866-947-1332

Notre Dame Law School, J.D., magna cum laude

Bryant College, M.B.A., with honors

Boston University, B.A., summa cum laude

Rhode Island



U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island

U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut

Steven was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Privacy and Data Security Law. Steven has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2016. He has also been recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2019 for Litigation: General Commercial (Rhode Island).

Steven has also been recognized as a “Rhode Island Super Lawyer” in Business Litigation based on a peer-review survey by Thomson Reuters (2008-2017).

Steven is a member of the American Bar Association and the Local Rules Committee of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, where he has served as chair. He is active in the Rhode Island Bar Association’s Federal Court Bench/Bar Committee and Superior Court Bench/Bar Committee.

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