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BAR/BRI CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT ~ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

PLEASE NOTE:  To receive a cash payment under the settlement, you must complete and submit a Claim Form and mail it, postmarked no later than September 17, 2007.

  1. What is the “Notice” I received in the mail?
  2. What is the lawsuit about?
  3. What is the current status of the lawsuit and Settlement?
  4. What are the basic terms of the Settlement?
  5. How do I know if I can participate in the Settlement?
  6. What constitutes a “full-service BAR/BRI bar review course?”
  7. Who represents me in this case?
  8. What if I did not receive a Notice or lost it?
  9. How do I receive the cash payment available under the Settlement?
  10. What is the deadline to submit a claim for a cash payment?
  11. What if I do not remember how much money I paid for the BAR/BRI bar review course?
  12. When will I receive my cash payment under the Settlement?
  13. What is the amount of the cash payment that I will receive under the Settlement?
  14. What if my employer directly paid for the full-service BAR/BRI bar review course?
  15. What if my employer reimbursed me for the full-service BAR/BRI bar review course?
  16. Can I designate another organization/charity to receive my portion of the Settlement?
  17. Where can I get more information about the National Legal Aid and Defender Association?
  18. Is my donation to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association tax-deductible?
  19. How is Class Counsel being paid?
  20. How do I find out more information about the case?
  21. What if my address or other personal information changed?
  22. What if I still have questions?

1. What is the “Notice” I received in the mail?

The “Notice” you received refers to the settlement of a class action antitrust suit against West Publishing Corporation and Kaplan, Inc. (discussed in Paragraph 2). You received the Notice because you may be a member of the Class and you may be eligible for a cash payment. YOU ARE NOT BEING SUED.

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2. What is the lawsuit about?

The plaintiffs are the class of persons who paid for a full-service BAR/BRI bar review course in the United States from August 1, 1997 through and including July 31, 2006. West Publishing Corporation, the owner of BAR/BRI, is a defendant. The other defendant is Kaplan, Inc.

BAR/BRI provides bar review courses throughout the United States, which assist law students in their preparation for taking one or more bar examinations. Each state and the District of Columbia require a passing score on a bar examination before issuing a license to practice law. Plaintiffs alleged that BAR/BRI violated federal antitrust laws by agreeing with Kaplan, Inc. to prevent competition in the market for full-service bar review courses. Plaintiffs alleged that BAR/BRI and Kaplan agreed that BAR/BRI would not compete in the LSAT business and Kaplan would not compete in the bar review business, thereby allocating to BAR/BRI the market for full-service bar review courses in the United States and preventing a competitive bar review course from being marketed and sold.

Plaintiffs also alleged that BAR/BRI acquired the assets of its former competitor, West Bar, thereby substantially lessening competition in the full-service bar review course market.

Plaintiffs further claimed that BAR/BRI unlawfully acquired and/or maintained a monopoly of the full-service bar review course market.

Plaintiffs alleged that, as a result of Defendants’ conduct, consumers paid more for BAR/BRI bar review courses than they should have.

Defendants denied all of Plaintiffs’ allegations. They contended that their conduct was lawful.

The Court has approved the Settlement in this case without determining whether Plaintiffs’ or Defendants’ contentions were correct.

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3. What is the current status of the lawsuit and Settlement?

This case was set to be tried on February 13, 2007.

On February 2, 2007, the parties submitted a proposed Settlement Agreement for approval by the Court.

On July 9, 2007, the Court:

  • Approved the Settlement as fair, reasonable, and adequate;
  • Denied incentive awards to the class representatives; and
  • Awarded Class Counsel attorneys' fees in the amount of 1.75 times their lodestar fees (hours times hourly rate) and reimbursement of expenses incurred in the prosecution of this matter.

If there are no appeals of the Court's orders or when all appeals, if any, finally approve the Court's orders, the Settlement become final and distribution of the Net Settlement Fund can begin.

If the Court's approval of the Settlement is reversed on appeal, the Settlement will be nullified and the case will return to the U.S. District Court for further proceedings.

4. What are the basic terms of the Settlement?

The Settlement provides both monetary and non-monetary relief.  The full Settlement Agreement and Plan of Allocation can be found at www.barbri-classaction.com.

Under the terms of the Settlement, Defendants deposited forty-nine million U.S. dollars ($49,000,000) into an interest-bearing account for the benefit of the Class. After the Settlement becomes final, the $49,000,000, plus interest (“Gross Settlement Fund”), will be used to pay for the costs of notice and settlement administration, and to pay for attorneys’ fees and expenses approved by the Court. The remaining balance (“Net Settlement Fund”) will be distributed to Class Members pursuant to the Plan of Allocation. The Plan of Allocation of the Net Settlement Fund is available for viewing at the website www.barbri-classaction.com.

The Settlement also provides the following non-monetary relief:

  • West Publishing Corp., the owner and operator of the BAR/BRI bar review courses and Kaplan, Inc., the owner and operator of a Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) preparatory course, will terminate the co-marketing agreement agreed to in 1997;
  • For 5 years, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, West Publishing Corp. will advise law students who enroll in a BAR/BRI course that, by signing an enrollment form and making an initial enrollment payment to BAR/BRI, the student is not committed to taking the BAR/BRI Bar Review course or to making the full payment to BAR/BRI for such course; and
  • West Publishing Corp. states that it is committed to accurate advertising of the BAR/BRI course in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.

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5. How do I know if I can participate in the Settlement?

You are part of the Class and may participate in the Settlement if you paid for a full-service BAR/BRI bar review course in the United States from August 1, 1997 through and including July 31, 2006, and did not previously request exclusion from the Class.

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6. What constitutes a “full-service BAR/BRI bar review course?”

You purchased a “full-service BAR/BRI bar review course” if your course included written materials and lectures (either live, or on video or audio tapes), and included preparation for both the MBE (if utilized by your state) and the state specific portion of the bar exam.

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7. Who represents me in this case?

The law firm of McGuireWoods LLP; Finkelstein Thompson LLP; and Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling LLP (collectively, “Class Counsel”) represent the Class.

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8. What if I did not receive a Notice or lost it?

If you did not receive a Notice and Claim Form or need a new one, you can download and print the Notice and Claim Form from the BAR/BRI class action website or you may complete the claim form electronically at www.barbri-classaction.com.

You may also obtain a copy of the Notice and Claim Form by calling toll-free 1-888-285-7850.

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9. How do I receive the cash payment available under the Settlement?

To receive a cash payment under the settlement, you must complete and submit a Claim Form and mail it, postmarked no later than September 17, 2007. To request a Notice and Claim Form, you may call the Claims Administrator toll-free at 1-888-285-7850 and request that a Notice and Claim Form be mailed to you, or you may download it from the website, www.barbri-classaction.com.

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10. What is the deadline to submit a claim for a cash payment?

The deadline to submit a claim is September 17, 2007. Please note, your claim must be postmarked no later than September 17, 2007 to be valid.

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11. What if I do not remember how much money I paid for the BAR/BRI bar review course?

If you do not remember how much money you paid for the BAR/BRI bar review course, you may contact the claims administrator toll-free at 1-888-285-7850 for assistance.  Please do not contact BAR/BRI.

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12. When will I receive my cash payment under the Settlement?

The Court will hold a Final Settlement Hearing on June 18, 2007, to decide whether to approved the Settlement on July 9, 2007. HoweverIf the Court approves the Settlement, there may be appeals of the Court’s decision. It is difficult to estimate how long it might take for any appeals to be resolved, but it may take a significant amount of time. Information updates will be posted at this website. If the Court approves the Settlement and if there is an appeal of the Court’s decision, the outcome of which is that the Court’s decision is approved by an appellate court, the Net Settlement Fund will be distributed after appeals are final. In no event will the distribution take place earlier than the September 17, 2007 claims deadline.

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13. What is the amount of the cash payment that I will receive under the Settlement?

Class members will be paid pursuant to the Plan of Allocation, which is available at the website, www.barbri-classaction.com. The actual dollar amount paid to each Class member who submits a timely and valid Claim Form will depend on the number of claims, the tuition amounts paid by claimants, and the amount of costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees approved by the Court. In no event shall any Class member receive more than thirty-percent (30%) of the amount paid by the Claimant for the BAR/BRI bar review course

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14. What if my employer directly paid for the full-service BAR/BRI bar review course?

If your employer paid for the BAR/BRI bar review course on your behalf, it is your employer who is eligible to participate in the Settlement and must submit a Claim Form.

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15. What if my employer reimbursed me for the full-service BAR/BRI bar review course?

If you paid for the BAR/BRI bar review course but were reimbursed by your employer, you should complete and submit a Claim Form since BAR/BRI’s records only reflect the name of the person/entity who paid for the BAR/BRI full-service bar review course. Whether you should tender the cash payment to your employer is an issue you need to address with your employer.

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16. Can I designate another organization/charity to receive my portion of the Settlement?

If you wish to donate your cash payment to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, you may do so by checking the appropriate box on the Claim Form. You cannot directly donate your cash payment to another organization/charity through the Settlement process. Of course, you may donate your cash payment to any charity of your choice after you receive it.

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17. Where can I get more information about the National Legal Aid and Defender Association?

You may choose to donate your cash payment to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (“NLADA”), which will use such donations to provide training opportunities for young lawyers nationwide. NLADA, founded in 1911, is the oldest and largest national nonprofit membership organization devoting all of its resources to advocating equal access to justice for all people. For more information about NLADA, please visit NLADA’s website at www.nlada.org.

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18. Is my donation to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association tax-deductible?

If you choose to donate your cash payment to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, your donation will be tax deductible. The National Legal Aid and Defendant Association will send you a receipt acknowledging your donation.

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19. How is Class Counsel being paid?

This litigation began in April 2005. Since then, Class Counsel have worked on the case on an entirely contingent basis. On July 9, 2007 the Court awarded Class Counsel their lodestar (hours expended times hourly rate) multiplied by 1.75.  The Court also awarded reimbursement of Class Counsel’s expenses in connection with this case.   

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20. How do I find out more information about the case?

The website www.barbri-classaction.com contains the Complaint, Defendants’ Answers, the Settlement Agreement, the Notice and Claim Form, and other documents relevant to this case. Publicly available court records may be examined in person and copied at the Clerk’s Office, United States District Court, Central District of California, 312 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012 during the Court’s normal business hours.

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21. What if my address or other personal information changed?

If your address changes, please inform the Claims Administrator of your new address by writing to:

BAR/BRI Claims Administration
c/o Complete Claim Solutions, LLC
P.O. Box 24639
West Palm Beach, Florida 33416

Be sure to include your full name and your previous address, as well as your new address.

You may also contact the Claims Administrator toll-free at 1-888-285-7850 or by email at BARBRI@completeclaimsolutions.com.

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22. What if I still have questions?

If you have additional questions not answered here, please contact the Claims Administrator toll-free at 1-888-285-7850, or write to Class Counsel: Sidney K. Kanazawa, Esq., McGuireWoods LLP, 1800 Century Park East, 8th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90067. You may also send an email inquiry to BARBRI@completeclaimsolutions.com. PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT.

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