Class Action Training Institute 2013
Wednesday, September 18 – Friday, September 20
This year’s Class Action Training Institute focused on litigation, strategy, and practical skills that can be used in a variety of social justice class actions. The Institute was held for the first time in September and at the offices of the State Bar of California in San Francisco. The Institute faculty included Disability Rights California’s Director of Litigation, Dara Schur, Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho partner, Laura Ho, and the Impact Fund’s own Staff Attorney, Della Barnett, Executive Director, Jocelyn Larkin, and Director of Litigation and Training, Robert Schug.
The 20 students, from a broad range of non-profits and law firms, participated in a variety of different learning formats on case development, media, discovery, and mediation with a hypothetical case involving racial discrimination. The Institute also featured an all-star cast of guest speakers. Frankie Ross, named plaintiff in a recent class action case against Merrill Lynch, discussed his experiences in the long and complex process. Ling Woo Liu, Director of Strategic Communications at Asian Americans Advancing Justice, spoke on developing relationships with the media and tips on responding to their hardest questions. Scott Grimes, Senior Paralegal at Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, illuminated the ins and outs of e-discovery. Michael Loeb returned this year to close the Institute with a mock mediation.
Students had the chance to dine with and hear from speakers, Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu and Alameda Superior Court Judge and former Impact Fund Executive Director, Brad Seligman. Both Ryu and Seligman were key developers of the Institute and continue to inspire up-and-coming class action litigators.
The Class Action Training Institute was generously sponsored by Stowell & Friedman, Ltd., a Chicago-based firm dedicated to defending employees' civil rights. Stowell & Friedman recently litigated and settled a class action race discrimination lawsuit against brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch, for $160 million. The suit claims that Merrill Lynch excluded black brokers from account distributions and teaming opportunities, which resulted in higher attrition and lower wage compared to white brokers. Frankie Ross, a 26-year employee of Merrill Lynch, is a named plaintiff in the case and spoke at the Training Institute.