Defamation, Law School Deans, Law Schools

Law School Litigation Update: Kurzon LLP Sues Cooley Law School for Defamation

You may recall that in July 2011, Craigslist ads started popping up in search of plaintiffs for a possible lawsuit against the second-best law school in all the land, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Those ads were posted by David Anziska, one of the leaders of what is now known as the law school litigation movement. Anziska, along with Jesse Strauss, formerly held positions at Kurzon Strauss (now known as Kurzon LLP), a small law firm in New York led by managing partner Jeffrey Kurzon.

Shortly after the ads were posted, Cooley Law fired back with a defamation complaint against the firm, alleging in a school-wide announcement that Team Strauss/Anziska and Kurzon Strauss had been “unethically soliciting former and present Cooley students to join in a class action lawsuit.” One month later, that very class-action lawsuit was filed, and rocked the world of legal education as we know it — calls for reform were made, and career services offices scrambled to clean up their employment statistics.

Perhaps Cooley Law wasn’t as superstitious as it should have been, because now, one year later, the little law firm that could has launched an additional suit against Cooley Law and its dean, Don LeDuc, this time alleging that the law school’s public claims against Kurzon LLP were false and defamatory….

When Cooley’s defamation suit was filed last year, Anziska noted in an interview with Bloomberg Law that it was “one of the most ridiculous, absurd lawsuits filed in recent memory,” and that the firm “fully intend[ed] to countersue both Thomas Cooley and their lawyers for abusing the legal system.” It seems that now the time has come for Cooley to face the music. From Kurzon LLP’s press release:

That “misguided effort” came in the form of a school-wide announcement from Dean Don LeDuc, a copy of which is available in full on the following page. In the meantime, here’s a choice excerpt from the complaint:

All the firm was trying to do was investigate alleged consumer protection violations — violations that have spurred mass reform in legal education, ranging from cutting class sizes, to publishing more informative employment statistics. Thus far, these lawyers’ efforts have allowed prospective law students to make more informed choices when applying to law school, but instead of being rewarded for it, their very careers and professional lives have allegedly been cast into ill repute. That’s not exactly a fair trade-off.

Jeff Kurzon had this to say about the defamation suit filed today against Cooley Law School:

“While most law schools around the country are committing themselves to greater transparency and helping students find post-graduate employment, Cooley is spending money on lawyers to harass opponents with ‘defamation’ actions based on false allegations. Through Cooley’s malicious and careless actions, the Firm has been defamed and we are enforcing our rights. Hopefully this action will help set the record straight and Cooley will pay for the harm that it caused.”

It’s also worth noting that while most law schools are trying to find ways to reduce the glut of lawyers in our country, Cooley is spending money not only on this alleged harassment, but also on opening new campuses. It’s just another thing to think about as we eagerly await the next wave of law school lawsuits.

Flip through to the next page to see a copy of Cooley Law’s allegedly defamatory announcement….

(hidden for your protection)

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