“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, Doug Fierberg expanded his Washington, D.C. – based trial practice to establish the only nationwide legal practice that represents victims and survivors of school violence: 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, and
- Establishment of legal precedent in many states creating 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 20 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. In July 2018, Mr. Fierberg obtained a settlement in excess of $300 Million for a client just a few minutes before starting opening statements in a trial.
Mr. Fierberg has been admitted to practice in federal, district and circuit courts in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Michigan. Courts located in states that he is not generally licensed to practice have allowed him to serve as lead counsel for cases involving wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury, sexual assault, and complex commercial matters. These include Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Mr. Fierberg has appeared multiple times on CNN, MSNBC, Good Morning America, and Fox, as an expert on legal issues involving school law, hazing, sexual assault and related topics, and in the film, The Hunting Ground. Mr. Fierberg’s work , cases and clients have been featured on the NBC Today Show, ABC 20/20, CNN, and Dateline, as well as in print and digital, in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, and others.
Mr. Fierberg often lectures to professional legal associations, victim advocacy organizations, and universities on legal issues related to school violence and victims’ rights. His most recent lectures include 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); National Center for Victims of Crime: Third Party Liability in Cases of Sexual Violence and Other Deadly Misconduct in Schools (December 2015); Chrysalis Network: Campus Sexual Violence: Student Rights, University Responsibilities and Legal Liability in the Hunting Ground (December 2016); Miami University; Campus Sexual Violence: Student Rights, University Responsibilities and Legal Liability in the Hunting Ground (October 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).
Mr. Fierberg’s publications include 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); and, The School Administrator: Hazing Prevention Deserves Attention, Too (Vol. 57, No. 9, October 2000).
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.
Mr. Fierberg graduated from the University of Michigan, Class Honors, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and received his law degree from The National Law Center, George Washington University, with Honors, in 1988.
Mr. Fierberg is a member of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Michigan Bars.