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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Welcome [insert your alma mater here] to the class action

I'm happy to be invited back to prawfsblawg. I begin my stint in the shadow of both Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of six more weeks of winter and Clinton/Anzizka's promise of filing a dozen more class actions against law schools. Today's news brings my alma mater, DePaul, into the winter of reecent graduates' discontent. Last fall I entertained a robust discussion about the plausiblity of class certification in these cases. http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblawg/2011/10/taking-attendance-class-actions-against-law-schools-expand-enrollment.html. Alerted to the atrocities of the quality of the brief-writing by a former student, today I query the the legal drafting skills of the plaintiffs' counsel for filing a complaint replete with over-the top hyperbole (is there any other kind?), mispellings (i.e., Brian "Loiter") and misnomers (Northwestern "College" of Law and "Chicago-Kent,"multiple times instead of defendant "De Paul,"  including within the prayer for relief). Counsel are not doing their clients any big favors. And I'm not convinced that these errors are to be blamed on the authors' educational instututions, either.

Posted by DBorman on February 2, 2012 at 09:00 PM | Permalink


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While I'm sure the lawyers would prefer to win these cases, I think they've done a lot just by bringing them. These lawsuits have provided media outlets with a concrete event upon which to base stories reporting the law school scam. Every time a new suit is brought, or there is some sort of development related to one, the media will report the whole story again. Stories have now been reported in most major news outlets, including NYT, WSJ, Bloomberg, etc. And local media outlets from the cities hosting the accused law schools have reported the story as well.

To stop the law school scam from continuing, you need to change the way the average person thinks about law school. Until recently, the average person equated law school with a golden ticket. The goal is to get the average person to think of law school as a serious risk to their financial future. This can only happen through frequent reporting of the story, people need to hear the message over and over and over again. These lawsuits have been pretty good in this respect.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Feb 3, 2012 10:28:27 PM

LST, yes, you are correct, and I should have specified that I meant that the defamation case is the only case involving the Strauss and Anziska (and formerly Kurzon) group to proceed past discovery, which is the group of cases to which I thought the post referred. The Thomas Jefferson case was filed earlier by the Miller Barondess firm which seems to have taken a more directed and fact-specific approach against one school rather than the shotgun/press release approach with generic complaints against many at once.

Posted by: Kipper | Feb 3, 2012 10:13:04 PM

Kipper, the Thomas Jefferson suit is in discovery. http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/2012/01/update-class-action-suit-against-thomas-jefferson-school-of-law-now-in-discovery/

Posted by: LST | Feb 3, 2012 7:03:56 PM

in the defamation action, the court denied Anziska/ Kurzon Strauss motion to consolidate the two lawsuits. The court set it for some form of mediation, I do not remember the term but it involves a panel of three mediators proposing a settlement amount.

In the case against the anonymous blogger Rockstar, the court ruled to reveal rockstar's identity but stayed it pending appeal.

So Cooley seems to have won all the rulings there have been thus far.

Posted by: James | Feb 3, 2012 6:53:14 PM

Thanks for pointing out the weaknesses of the cut-and-paste class action, Kipper. That was the direction I was heading by noting the Kent-for-DePaul error. If anyone knows the status of the Michigan defamation suit, please weigh in.

Posted by: Debbie Borman | Feb 3, 2012 6:46:59 PM

I suspect the plaintiffs have overreached this time. They had at least one prime target in the first round (school that starts with C) due to its size, its own rankings, its goal to be the largest, and its marketing materials. However, when they say the C school is exactly the same as, for example, Brooklyn or many of the other schools named in this round and pretty much just cuts and pastes a general screed against all law schools, that seems to add to the C school's defense.

It is interesting that the only case which seems to be proceeding past the motion to dismiss stage at this point is the C school's defamation suit against these lawyers.

Posted by: Kipper | Feb 3, 2012 4:27:08 PM

Yes, Orin - that is the complaint. Thanks, Jon.

Posted by: Debbie Borman | Feb 3, 2012 9:52:21 AM

Orin -- I believe Debbie is referring to http://www.chicagobusiness.com/assets/downloads/DePaul.pdf .

Posted by: Jon Weinberg | Feb 3, 2012 6:59:41 AM

Debbie, do you have a link to the complaint? I'd be interested to read it.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Feb 3, 2012 1:18:32 AM

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