Class Action

First it showed up in the New York Times. Then it appeared on the Today Show. Now the story of law schools allegedly misrepresenting their graduates’ employment outcomes is in every New Yorker’s favorite commuter rag newspaper, Metro New York:

What news development on the law school lawsuit front brought this story to the front page of Metro?

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Jesse Strauss

I think everyone is cheering for us, but not necessarily betting on us.

Jesse Strauss, one of the lawyers behind the class action law school lawsuits, commenting in an interview with New York Magazine on whether he believes fellow lawyers support the cause.

[C]omputer-assisted review… should be seriously considered for use in large-data-volume cases where it may save the producing party (or both parties) significant amounts of legal fees in document review. Counsel no longer have to worry about being the “first” or “guinea pig” for judicial acceptance of computer-assisted review.

– Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck (S.D.N.Y.), in last week’s opinion in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe et al. We have previously covered Judge Peck’s comments in Da Silva Moore and his thoughts on compter-assisted review.


People going to bottom-tier law schools ought to know that they won’t go like hot cakes on the job market. But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to exploit their vulnerability.

Mark Gergen, a law professor at Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley), commenting on the lawsuits filed against law schools over allegedly misleading employment data.

(That’s just one professor’s opinion. What do other experts think?)

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Where would lawyers be without open (and absurdly expensive) access to Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis for legal research? They’d have to trudge down to the closest law library and read real books made of paper. They’d have to head over to the courthouse and pull actual files with non-electronic documents inside of them. In a time where legal texts are used solely for decorative bookshelf purposes, that is just too much to ask.

But that is the behavior that two lawyers would expect of their professional colleagues. As we mentioned in Morning Docket, they claim that the legal database providers have been engaging in “unabashed wholesale copying of thousands of copyright-protected works created by, and owned by, the attorneys and law firms who authored them.”

Do they have any chance of winning their class action copyright suit?

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When we interviewed David Anziska back in December 2011, he noted that Team Strauss/Anziska intended to make 2012 the “year of law school litigation.” Keeping that in mind, they certainly started the year off on the right foot when they sued 12 additional law schools on top of the class actions they’d already filed against Cooley Law and New York Law School. Anziska told us that their strategy going forward would be to sue as many law schools as possible in the first half of 2012. How’s that working out for them?

Anziska recently sat down with Bloomberg Law for an on-air interview where he revealed some noteworthy information about the next wave of law school lawsuits. The most relevant piece of information? Twenty more law school class action suits are coming down the pipeline. Which schools will be named as defendants?

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Just a few weeks ago, Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck (S.D.N.Y.) spoke to several hundred people at LegalTech New York about the importance of predictive coding for the future of electronic discovery. He expressed his hope that a federal court would, sooner rather than later, officially encourage using the technology in a case.

Shortly after participating in the panel, Judge Peck fulfilled his own wish. Last week, he became what appears to be the first federal judge to order litigants to use the cutting-edge technology in a case.

Let’s look at the details, as well as take a little refresher on predictive coding…

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Back in October, we informed our readers that law school litigators Jesse Strauss and David Anziska intended to file class action lawsuits against 15 additional schools, on top of the two they’d already filed against Cooley Law and New York Law School. In mid-December, we brought you an update on the status of those potential filings after Anziska told us that at least three named plaintiffs had been secured for 11 out of the 15 law schools on October’s target list. And now, about a month and a half later, have we got some news for you.

Anziska quipped in an interview with us last year that he hoped to turn 2012 into the year of “law school litigation.” Well, the class action crusader is off to a great start, because today, Team Strauss/Anziska partnered up with six other law firms and filed lawsuits against 12 law schools around the country. According to Anziska, “these lawsuits will define a generation.”

Which law firms have joined in their mighty quest, and which law schools have been sued? Find out all of this information, plus additional details that we learned during today’s media conference call, after the jump….

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In 2009, Professor Martin H. Redish of Northwestern Law School published a book arguing that class actions are in large part unconstitutional: Wholesale Justice: Constitutional Democracy and the Problem of the Class Action Lawsuit (Stanford Univ. Press 2009). Where is the practicing bar?

I understand that nobody reads law review articles or books published by an academic press. And I wouldn’t condemn any practicing lawyer to reading any issue of a law review from cover to cover. But I don’t think it’s asking too much to insist that lawyers remain gently abreast of the academic literature in their field and deploy new ideas aggressively when scholars propose them. Redish’s book shows why in-house counsel should demand more of their outside lawyers.

This post is a two-fer: I’m going both substantive — by summarizing Redish’s argument about why many class actions are unconstitutional — and pragmatic — by criticizing law firms that ignore ideas springing up in the academy that should be used in litigation. (For me, drafting that two-fer is an unusual trick. As regular readers know, it’s typically hard to find even a single thought tucked into one of my columns.)

What does Redish say about class actions, and how have most law firms been derelict?

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As we mentioned today in Morning Docket, William Robinson, the newly appointed president of the American Bar Association, is taking a stand on the status quo of legal education in our country.

But instead of combating 2011’s annus horribilis for law schools by calling for reform, Robinson is defending the ABA’s role, stating that young lawyers “should have known what they were getting into.”

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the man in charge of the ABA is essentially playing the “blame the victim” card when it comes to debt-saddled and unemployed law school graduates?

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