“The test of self-worth is not to be found in words, in pretty formulas nicely phrased. The test is revealed in action, in the ability to turn beautiful speech into beautiful deeds. It must be earned. It is what one does.” - Rabbi Sherwin Wine (1928-2007)
More than 25 years ago, Douglas E. Fierberg expanded his Washington D.C. based trial practice to establish the only legal practice that represents victims and survivors of school violence nationwide: School Violence Law. The aim was to develop the premier national trial practice for victims; one superior to those developed across the country over decades by institutions to blame and punish victims and defeat their just claims.
The achievement of that goal is evident by:
Unprecedented victories on behalf of victims in state and federal courts across the country
Hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements against fraternities, colleges, schools, perpetrators, and other wrongdoers
Legal concessions to make institutions safer and transparent
Specialized accommodations for survivors of sexual assault and harassment to protect their educational rights
Establishment of legal precedent in many states creating a legal authority to hold colleges, schools, and fraternities responsible for campus violence
Formation of a team of topflight, passionate trial lawyers to aid school violence victims nationwide
Mr. Fierberg is the founding member and chair of the Litigation Group, Schools: Violence, Misconduct, and Safety, which operates within and under the authority of the American Association for Justice ("AAJ"). Mr. Fierberg is a past President of the National Crime Victim Bar Association Advisory Board. Mr. Fierberg was lead counsel for twenty families whose loved ones died or suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the April 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre. The result: a historic settlement with the Commonwealth of Virginia valued at more than $11 Million. He continues to serve as counsel for the VTV Family Outreach Foundation established by the settlement.
Mr. Fierberg also served as the lead trial attorney for Rolling Stone LLC, Jann Wenner and Wenner Media LLC - legendary global media companies - defending multiple defamation lawsuits filed against them arising out of an article Rolling Stone published on the subject of sexual assaults at college fraternities. His work uncovered numerous legal and factual flaws in the allegations against Rolling Stone, leading to favorable resolutions of those lawsuits.
Since the inception of his practice, Mr. Fierberg has continually represented local and national businesses in a variety of areas covering transactions and litigation. This includes such things as employment discrimination and wrongful terminations, real estate and other forms of commercial fraud, and corporate and not-for-profit governance and transactions.
Mr. Fierberg is currently a Board Member at the Women’s Resource Center of Traverse City, Michigan. The mission of the Women’s Resource Center is to protect, shelter, and empower people impacted by domestic and sexual violence. Mr. Fierberg is also a Member, Senior Advisory Board: Engender, Yale University. The mission of Engender is to advocate for gender-based integration of social spaces, including fraternities, and end discrimination that restricts, and economic opportunities in the fraternity system to men.
J.D., The National Law Center, George Washington University, With Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Michigan, Class Honors
Harvard Law School, Gender Violence, Law, and Social Justice: Litigating Against Fraternities, Schools, and Students in Cases of Sexual Violence, Hazing, and Other Deadly Misconduct (March 2018; March 2015)
Cornell University, Student Rights and University Responsibilities: Fraternities, Sexual Violence, and Other Wrongdoing on Campus.edu (September 2018)
National Center for Victims of Crime: Third Party Liability in Cases of Sexual Violence and Other Deadly Misconduct in Schools (December 2015)
Miami University, Campus Sexual Violence: Student Rights, University Responsibilities, and Legal Liability in the Hunting Ground (March 2020, October 2016)
Chrysalis Network: Campus Sexual Violence: Student Rights, University Responsibilities, and Legal Liability in the Hunting Ground (December 2016)
National Center for Victims of Crime: Holding Universities, Campus Institutions, and Students Accountable for Mass Violence, Campus Crimes, and Other Wrongdoing: Civil Justice for Victims of Campus Crime, Sexual Assault and Other Wrongdoing (2011 National Conference)
National Legal Aid and Defender Association: Holding Universities, Campus Institutions, and Students Accountable for Mass Violence, Campus Crimes, and Other Wrongdoing: Civil Justice for Victims (2010 National Conference)
American Association for Justice: Holding Universities, Campus Institutions, and Students Accountable for Mass Violence, Campus Crimes, and Other Wrongdoing: Civil Justice for Victims at Virginia Tech and Other Schools (2009 National Conference)
American Trial Lawyers Association: School Safety: Threat Assessments, Rapid Response, and Lockdowns (2008 National Conference); Student Victims: Strategies and Issues for Successful Civil Litigation (2007 National Conference)
American Trial Lawyers Association: Student Victims of Sexual Assault: An Overview of Administrative and Legal Remedies (2006 National Conference)
National Student Legal Services Association: Student Victims: An Overview of the Problem, Civil Litigation, and Related Proceedings (2005 National Conference)
American Trial Lawyers Association: The Greek Industry: Strategies for Litigating Claims Involving Serious Injury, Death, Hazing, and Alcohol Misuse (2005 National Conference)
American Trial Lawyers Association: Fraternity Litigation: A Basic Primer on the Status of Violence, Injury, Death, Alcohol Misuse, and Litigation Involving the Fraternity Industry (2004 National Conference)
Publications and Cited Work:
Michigan State Law Review; Tanya Asim Cooper, #SororityToo, 2020 Mich. St. L. Rev. 355 (Vol. 2020, Iss. 2)
Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Chapter 9, Universities and College Groups Must Begin Disclosing Threats of Sexual Assault and Other Campus Violence (Author, Hank Nuwer, Indiana University Press 2018)
Victim Advocate: Representing Victims of Hazing and Other Group Violence on Campus (Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall, 2001)
Synthesis: Law and Policy in Higher Education (Vol. 10, No. 3, Winter, 1999)
The School Administrator: Hazing Prevention Deserves Attention, Too (Vol. 57, No. 9, October 2000)
Mr. Fierberg has appeared multiple times on:
Good Morning America
Fox, as an expert on legal issues involving school law, hazing, sexual assault, and related topics.
Mr. Fierberg’s expertise, cases, and clients have been featured on/in:
CNN Film: The Hunting Ground
CNN Special Report: Deadly Haze: Inside the Fraternity Crisis
NBC Today Show
The New York Times
The New York Times Magazine
The Washington Post
Various Other Media Outlets
Bar & Court Admissions:
State of Maryland
State of Michigan
District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit
Mr. Fierberg has been recognized by Super Lawyers as one of Washington DC's Top Schools & Education Lawyers for 7 Years and The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, a professional organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from across the country who exemplify superior qualifications as civil plaintiff or criminal defense trial lawyers. Mr. Fierberg has also been offered, yet declined, numerous other purportedly honorific tokens/titles/plaques (common and endangered wood) prevalent in the legal industry that speak more to the narcissism of the recipient than the quality of their work and commitment to their clients and civil justice.