School Violence Team Biographies
The School Violence Team
Doug Fierberg specializes in college death, serious personal injury, college rape and sexual assault, fraternity rape and sexual assault, business and other complex civil disputes and litigation. Across the country, Mr. Fierberg has served as lead counsel for numerous young victims of hazing, sexual assault or other deadly, dangerous or violent misconduct in schools, camps, mental health or other institutional settings. In his business practice, Mr. Fierberg has represented national and local businesses as outside General Counsel, and in the prosecution and defense of numerous types of claims, including breach of contract, employment or other business agreements, and commercial torts. View Doug's Curriculum Vitae.
Mr. Fierberg is past President of the National Advisory Board of the National Crime Victim Bar Association ("NCVBA") and has continued serving as a member of the Board. NCVBA is comprised of lawyers and other professionals across the country who advocate for the rights of victims of crime, particularly with respect to victims' rights to utilize the civil justice system to seek compensation and protect their interests.
Mr. Fierberg is a Founder and Chairperson of the national litigation group, Schools: Violence, Misconduct, and Safety, which operates within and under the authority of the American Association for Justice (AAJ). He is also a member of AAJ, the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., and the Bars of the District of Columbia and Maryland. Mr. Fierberg has been admitted to practice in federal, district and circuit courts serving Maryland and the District of Columbia, and he has been admitted pro hac vice in order to serve as lead counsel for wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases brought in numerous other state courts, including, among others, Alabama, California, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Colorado, Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, Mississippi, Nevada, Maryland, District of Columbia, and Ohio. Mr. Fierberg was lead counsel for more than twenty families whose loved ones died or suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of the April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech University, which resulted in a historic settlement with the Commonwealth of Virginia. He continues to serve as counsel for the Charitable Purposes Fund established by the settlement.
Mr. Fierberg has appeared as an expert in a number of forums, such as national television (CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox Television) and radio programs (All Things Considered, NPR) in the United States and Canada. Cases in which Mr. Fierberg is serving as counsel have been featured on the NBC Today Show, CBS, CNN, ABC 20/20 (multiple times) and Dateline, among others. He has been quoted in numerous articles on the subjects of college death and injuries to students and related litigation (New York Times, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, and others). He appeared as a legal expert on hazing on John McGlaughlin's television production, "One-On-One," and Kweisi Mfume's television show, "The Bottom Line" (WBAL-CH11). Mr. Fierberg has lectured about the legal issues relating to campus safety, college death and student injury at various universities and high schools, including Middlebury College and Wake Forest University.
Mr. Fierberg's more recent publications include: 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, (NCVC, 2011 National Conference); Holding Universities, Campus Institutions, and Students Accountable for Mass Violence, Campus Crimes and Other Wrongdoing: Civil Justice for Victims, (NLADA, 2010 National Conference); 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, (AAJ, 2009 National Conference); School Safety: Threat Assessments, Rapid Response and Lockdowns, (ATLA, 2008 National Conference); Student Victims: Strategies and Issues for Successful Civil Litigation, (ATLA, 2007 National Conference, Education Program); Student Victims of Sexual Assault: An Overview of Administrative and Legal Remedies, (ATLA, 2006 National Conference, Education Program); Student Victims: An Overview of the Problem, Civil Litigation, and Related Proceedings, (National Student Legal Services Association, 2005 Conference); The Greek Industry: Strategies for Litigating Claims Involving Serious Injury, Death, Hazing, and Alcohol Misuse, (ATLA, 2005 National Conference, Education Program); Fraternity Litigation: A Basic Primer on the Status of Violence, Injury, Death, Alcohol Misuse, and Litigation Involving the Fraternity Industry, (ATLA, 2004 National Conference, Litigation at Sunrise); 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); and, The School Administrator: Hazing Prevention Deserves Attention, Too, (Vol. 57, No. 9, October 2000).
Mr. Fierberg graduated from the University of Michigan (BA, Psychology) with Class Honors in 1980, and received his law degree with Honors from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1988. Doug was a member of the George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics and Moot Court Board.
Marian Riedy has more than twenty-five years of experience representing plaintiffs in cases arising from catastrophic personal injuries. Marian graduated from Harvard Law School, and earned an MBA from Georgetown University, with honors, and a BA, summa cum laude, from the University of Kansas. She served as a volunteer for the D.C. Rape Crisis Center Hotline, was a member of the Board of Directors of DCRCC, and is currently a law professor. View Marian's Curriculum Vitae.
James W. Saffell has specialized in civil and criminal litigation, personal injury, and family law for more than twenty-five years. Mr. Saffell has successfully represented people who have been injured or lost a family member in many types of cases, including vehicular accidents, premises liability accidents and worksite accidents.
Mr. Saffell received his law degree from the University of Denver – College of Law and his B.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He worked as an Intern with the United States Department of Interior, Office of the Regional Solicitor, Denver, Colorado. Mr. Saffell currently serves as a volunteer mediator and Board President with Conflict Resolution Services, and is President Elect of his local bar association. He has been involved in numerous community activities, including volunteer legal assistance for the Women's Resource Center and the Third Level Crisis Intervention Center. Mr. Saffell is a court approved and state certified mediator for civil and domestic cases. View Jim's Curriculum Vitae.
Joshua Sheffer graduated cum laude from the Notre Dame Law School and has extensive litigation and appellate experience in state and federal courts. Joshua has taught a number of law courses, and he has been admitted to practice in Michigan and Illinois. View Joshua's Curriculum Vitae.
Chris DeJong graduated from the University of Michigan and has twenty years experience in the legal field, mostly as a paralegal. She has worked up and handled a number of litigation cases, many through trial. Chris is an integral part of not only this team, but also the non-profits to which she dedicates her free time. View Chris's Curriculum Vitae.
Leslie Saffell has more than thirty years of experience as a paralegal. In her position, Leslie provides a range of litigation support. She obtains, analyzes, and summarizes records and evidence, participates in strategic planning, prepares and responds to discovery requests, researches and coordinates experts, and assists in trial preparation. View Leslie's Curriculum Vitae.