This website and law practice are dedicated to legal issues concerning school violence, wrongful death, and related matters. Within the U.S., and worldwide, equal access to education enables people to achieve their potential. We represent people and families who have had this opportunity, and their lives, destroyed by violence, fraternity hazing, sexual violence and other intentional and negligent wrongdoing. More than 20 years ago, we were the first private practice to specialize in handling lawsuits on behalf of victims nationwide. We have always believed that “giving back” is essential. Thus, we have obtained – without fee – hundreds of thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations committed to protecting students and families from violence, fraternity hazing, rape and other misconduct in schools.
That you have found this website indicates that you are, or someone you love, is likely experiencing a traumatic event. We express sincere condolences, from the entire staff.
Our practice is truly unique in that it remains the only nationwide legal team focusing on school violence for victims. We established the specialty, going so far as to create the first (and only) national school violence practice group within the American Association for Justice. We obtain special permission to practice in any state where tragedy happens, locating and associating ourselves with qualified local trial counsel (two of whom have since become judges) to form a legal team with national expertise and local experience. We represent victims in lawsuits involving school death and injury, fraternity hazing, college and fraternity rape and sexual assault, student-child sexual abuse and pornography, and serious personal injury. It is not just about money, though we have successfully obtained (and collected) tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients, results and experience which we believe no other firm comes even close to matching. Parents and victims justly demand that comprehensive changes be imposed upon the national fraternities, fraternity chapters and schools that caused or failed to prevent their trauma.
We have sought and obtained enforceable concessions from defendants designed to make institutions (universities and fraternities) better managed and safer, allowing personal legacies to endure. For example, we have caused universities to expel rapists, waive tuition and housing costs, implement academic accommodations and stay-away orders, revise victims’ grades and transcripts, comply with Title IX, state law, and university regulations, disclose risk information to the public, and, generally, act responsibly towards victims of great tragedies. We have forced fraternities to disclose their histories of misconduct that have resulted in injuries and death. We have created new legal precedent to aid victims nationwide, and we have assisted our clients obtain enactment of state legislation expanding victims’ rights.
We successfully negotiated the historic, complex settlement with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Tech University on behalf of 20 families/clients who suffered the loss of a loved one or traumatic gunshot injuries as a result of the April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. John McCammon, founder of The McCammon Group and mediator of the settlement, described these accomplishments as “stellar. You have served your clients so well and at the same time distinguished yourselves as first class, effective, efficient, practical and collaborative attorneys who know how to deal with the big issues. While tough on substance, you were smooth on style. That is a difficult combination to pull off.” We continue to serve as legal counsel – pro bono – for the VTV Family Foundation, which was established as a result of our work.
Numerous other – equally important – examples of our work are set forth for your review on this site.
Because many of our clients also need the best legal advocacy concerning criminal proceedings that often arise from these tragedies, our team is establishing an of-counsel relationship with two of the country’s foremost criminal/trial lawyers, William “Billy” Martin and Kerry Verdi, headquartered in D.C., who, like us, are sought out and retained by people and businesses nationwide. Billy and Kerry have unequalled success in navigating the criminal (and civil) process in some of this country’s highest-profile cases. The Washington Post Magazine recently featured Billy and his work. We believe that our work together delivers to our clients the strongest legal and courtroom experience available.
The search for qualified counsel is as difficult as it is important. You should ask lawyers you interview for specific examples of the number and type of school cases they have handled, including the results obtained. School, college and fraternity death and injury cases are often fundamentally different from claims involving medical malpractice, automobile accidents, slip and falls, and the other types of tort claims trial lawyers most often handle. Ask them about their experience and ability to assist you in passage of victims’ rights legislation, should you have that concern. We welcome the opportunity to be of assistance. If we cannot assist you directly, we are happy to provide you with referrals to other lawyers around the country qualified to represent you on such matters. All communications with our school violence team are confidential.