Attention young lawyers. We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important announcement:
If you purchased a bar review course from BAR/BRI anywhere in the United States anytime from August, 1997 through July 31, 2006 (the “Class”), you may be affected by a settlement of a class action lawsuit pending in the United States District Court for the Central District of California called Rodriguez, et. al v. West Publishing Corp., d/b/a BAR/BRI, and Kaplan, Inc., Case No. CV-05-3222 R (MCx).
Okay, you already knew about that — and we wrote about it before too. But here’s the important part: the deadline for filing a Proof of Claim is this coming Monday, September 17, 2007. So if you chucked that form into a big “to deal with later” pile, just like we did, you need to fish it out over the weekend.
More discussion, after the jump.
A tipster summarizes the situation nicely:
If you paid directly (i.e., not your firm paying for you), you’ll get back about $120, but all refund requests must be postmarked by 9/17. You can call their number to see if you’re on the list, but you got to sit through a boring 3 minute message before you can get operator.
Not so great for Biglaw associates, but better for govt employees or maybe small firms where they didn’t get reimbursed.
From another correspondent:
Many of us received our class action settlement claim forms from BarBri [earlier this year]. You are meant to submit your name and information so they know where to send you the $125 each class member can claim.
Now, at most big law firms, the firm either pays up front for the BarBri course, or reimburses the associates for the costs. Those associates on their ethical high-horses think the whopping $125 should go to the firm, and plan to either ask the firm or just give them the money. However, the money-grubbing associates are screaming at them not to rock the boat. Also, there is an option on the class action claim form where you can choose to have your portion donated.
This person suggested a reader poll. Here it is:
What did we do? We alerted our former firm of the settlement and asked what to do (but they never responded).
That might be the most prudent approach. If you aspire to appointive or elective office, might they look into whether you claimed and kept the BarBri money, even though your firm paid?
BAR/BRI Class Action Litigation [official website]
Earlier: Breaking: You Are Probably $125 Richer Right Now
How are firms, who paid for many Bar/Bri courses or reimbursed associates for them, handling this? We discussed Alston & Bird’s response here. We reprint below an email outlining how V&E is dealing with the situation.
From: Johnston, Jeff
Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 6:19 PM
To: All Attorneys – Domestic
Cc: Harris, Patty; Sims, Stacy; Marinis, Thomas; Armstrong, Tim
Subject: BAR/BRI Class Action Settlement
Many of you have received claim forms related to the BAR/BRI class action settlement. BAR/BRI has been sued for allegedly violating the antitrust laws in connection with its bar review courses. That litigation has been settled and all persons who purchased a bar review course from BAR/BRI between August 1, 1997 and July 31, 2006 are entitled to make a claim for a portion of the settlement funds.
The firm is preparing to make a claim for the amounts it paid to BAR/BRI during the class period for bar review courses attended by incoming firm lawyers. Therefore, if the firm paid BAR/BRI directly for your bar review course, you should not make an individual claim. However, according to the claim rules posted at www.barbri-classaction.com, if you paid BAR/BRI directly, and were later reimbursed by the firm, you are entitled to make a claim against the settlement funds; the firm cannot make the claim even though it ultimately reimbursed you. If you are not sure whether the firm paid BAR/BRI directly for your bar review course, you can contact Stacy Sims at xxx-xxx-xxxx.
For those who paid BAR/BRI directly and are interested in making a claim, the claim forms can be found at www.barbri-classaction.com. If you choose to make a claim, and were reimbursed by the firm for your BAR/BRI expenses, we encourage you to either utilize the option of donating your settlement funds to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association or to tender any amounts received in settlement to Tim Armstrong, the firm’s chief financial officer. Please feel free to call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or Tom Marinis at xxx-xxx-xxxx with any questions.
Jeffrey S. Johnston
Vinson & Elkins LLP