Suzanne M. Dugan leads the Ethics & Fiduciary Counseling practice, a practice she helped found over a decade ago within the Securities Litigation & Investor Protection practice.
Suzanne brings experience gained from having served as ethics counsel to the third largest public pension fund in the country, to advise and counsel pension fund trustees and senior managers on issues and challenges, providing collaborative and creative solutions for pension funds as they navigate changing economic challenges and organizational requirements.
Suzanne joined Cohen Milstein after more than 20 years of service in government, including as Special Counsel for Ethics for the Office of the New York State Comptroller, and as general counsel to and acting director of the New York State Ethics Commission. Her service and experience in government offer the broad and unique perspective of a regulator and the understanding of an in-house counsel, which are further informed by her presentation of public pension plans with over one-half trillion dollars under management.
From this unique vantage, Suzanne counsels pension funds on fiduciary responsibility, ethical duties, strategic governance, and compliance issues. She consults with governmental entities and others on design, implementation, management, and assessment of comprehensive ethics programs. She also assists in conducting investigations and structuring recommendations and provides expert legal and consulting services to law firms retained to conduct special reviews, providing an additional layer of oversight and accountability.
Suzanne has worked with public pension fund and municipal government clients in the following capacities:
- As fiduciary counsel, ethics counsel, and compliance counsel to public pension plans from coast to coast, including some of the largest institutional investors in the country
- By providing ethics and fiduciary training to boards of trustees, designing, and delivering educational programs for sophisticated public pension plans and government entities
- As outside ethics officer to municipalities across the country, evaluating and investigating complaints of unethical conduct, providing objective and independent guidance, and working to ensure a culture of ethical leadership.
Suzanne is a frequent lecturer at conferences and forums addressing ethics and fiduciary issues in the public and nonprofit sectors, including pension funds, bringing with her an understanding of ethical issues born out of practical experience and scholarly pursuits. She has served as an adjunct professor, teaching a course on government ethics, and writes frequently on ethics, fiduciary responsibilities of pension trustees and the role of pension fund attorneys. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute.
- National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA)
- Executive Board
- Board Liaison, New Member Education Committee
- Member, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
- Member, Publications Committee,
- American Law Institute
- Elected Member
- Consultative Group, Principles of Government Ethics,
- Council of Government Ethics Law
- New York State Judicial Nominating Convention
- Delegate, Fourth Judicial District
- Special Counsel for Ethics, Office of the New York State Comptroller
- General Counsel and Acting Executive Director, New York State Ethics Commission
- Adjunct Professor, Albany Law School of Union University
- Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library
- Elected Trustee, 2015-present
- Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson
- Board of Directors, 2011-2017
- Executive Committee, 2015-2016
- Governance Committee, 2017-2019
- New York Civil Liberties Union, Capital Regions Chapter
- Board of Directors, 1994-2000
- Legal Committee, 1992-2000