Photograph of Laurel Pyke Malson

Laurel Pyke Malson


Laurel Pyke Malson is a partner in Crowell & Moring's Washington, D.C. office, a member of the Litigation Group, and chairs the firm's Education Practice. She focuses on litigation, internal and independent investigations, and compliance counseling for educational institutions regarding issues such as Title IX, Title VI, Program Integrity Rules, ADEA, First Amendment, faculty misconduct, tenure disputes, and FERPA. She also routinely counsels foreign and domestic clients regarding litigation risk management in the U.S. federal and state courts; and has litigated extensively under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the International Claims Settlement Act, and other "public law" provisions where foreign and U.S. government, and related entities, are involved. She also has litigated numerous class-actions under, e.g., the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, state contract and consumer fraud provisions, and matters involving academic misconduct allegations, in addition to a broad range of business and individual torts, including civil rights and constitutional violations. In addition, Ms. Malson has counseled and litigated on behalf of a variety of public and private entities, including public school systems (and public charters) and universities, independent secondary schools, community college systems, academic medical centers and other health care providers, health plans, and professional and trade associations. She also serves as a federal court mediator in a wide range of disputes, with a focus on employment and civil rights matters.

Recent key representations include: Title IX litigation defending universities against claims brought by both complainants and respondents; defending putative class action claims for tuition refunds arising out of the COVID-19 campus closures in 2020; litigation involving faculty tenure disputes, race and sex discrimination, faculty abuse of students, and the institution’s duty of care regarding suicidal students; compliance counseling, student disciplinary matters, and independent investigations of historic faculty misconduct with students, of racially hostile campus environment, and of sexual harassment on D-I athletic team; counseling independent schools on procedures for responding to sexual misconduct and similar allegations of discrimination; counseling regarding athletic coach abuse investigation by SafeSport; defense of public university system involving First Amendment freedom of speech claims; advising state university regarding tuition benefits for undocumented students; advocating for victims of Libyan State-sponsored terrorism before the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States; securing judgments for victims of Iranian State-sponsored terrorism and advocating on their behalf before the US Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund; defending a large urban public school system in class action and U.S. enforcement action involving English Language Learners, under Title VI and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act; defending the District of Columbia Public Schools in a major class action under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act; defending the American Psychiatric Association in the Ritalin and ECT consumer fraud class action litigations in multiple state and federal jurisdictions; and representing a class of thousands of African American farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture to redress claims of race discrimination in federal farm loan credit transactions. She also is a key member of the team that secured a $6 billion judgment on behalf of the estates and family members of seven U.S. nationals that perished, and the U.S. owner of the aircraft that was destroyed, in the 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772 over the Sahara Desert. (Pugh v. Libya, Case No. 02-2026 (D.D.C.)).  In addition, she is currently representing a non-profit health plan in arbitrations asserting breach of contract and fraud claims against pharmacy benefit managers arising out of the “usual and customary” price charged for certain prescription drug products. Ms. Malson is a Mediator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. She chaired the Committee on Grievances for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia from 2001 to 2004.

Before entering private practice in 1985, Ms. Malson served in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice for four years, where she was responsible for a broad range of constitutional and federal statutory matters. Ms. Malson clerked for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1980-1981) and the Hon. Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (1979-1980). 

Government Experience

  • Department of Justice: Office of Legal Counsel—Attorney Advisor (1981–1985)


  • Wesleyan University, B.A. (1976)
  • Harvard Law School, J.D. (1979)


Professional Activities and Memberships

  • National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia; U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit—Panel of Mediators, 1990s – Present
  • Winner, 2010 International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Committee on Grievances, Chair, 2001–2004
  • District of Columbia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Board of Directors, 1994–1998
  • D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures, 1986–1991
  • American Bar Association—International Law Section; Litigation Section

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Litigation & Trial

International Dispute Resolution

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Team

Administrative Law and Regulatory

Consumer Claims

Health Care Litigation

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Recent Representations

  • Defend universities against Title IX claims arising out of student disciplinary proceedings.
  • Draft comments for submission to the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of universities in response to NPRM regarding Title IX regulations.
  • Defend university in “tuition refund” litigation following COVID-19 campus closures.
  • Investigate claims of racially hostile campus environment following allegations of faculty misconduct.
  • Defend university systems against First Amendment freedom of speech claims.
  • Defend and resolve claims against university following student suicide.
  • Secure dismissal of sec. 1981 race discrimination claims asserted against university by commercial contractor.
  • Litigate and resolve university tenure disputes involving various discrimination claims.
  • Conduct of numerous independent investigations of student and faculty sexual misconduct for independent schools.
  • Investigation of abuse allegations in Division I athletic program.
  • Doe v. Trustees of Princeton University, D.N.J. (2018), aff’d CA3 (2020) (Title IX litigation)
  • MedStar Health, Inc. v. District of Columbia Department of Health, State Health Planning and Development Agency, et al., No. 14-AA-328 (D.C. Court of Appeals) (September 2016) (administrative review of CON Determination)
  • Brief of Amici Curiae The National Domestic Violence Hotline, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, The Battered Women’s Justice Project, and End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin et al., Voisine v. United States, No. 14-10154 (S. Ct. 2016).
  • Congress of Hispanic Educators v. Denver Public Schools v. The United States of America, No. 95-cv-02313-RPM(D.Co.) (Class action involving provision of educational services to English Language Learners).
  • Claim of Donna Marlowe, Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the U.S., Libya Program ($3 million award).
  • In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, No. 08-mc-511 (D.D.C.) (Class action discrimination in USDA farm loan program resulting in $1.25 billion settlement).
  • Pugh v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya , et al. (D.D.C) (awarded $6.1 billion judgment, January 24, 2008); Pugh v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya , et al., No. 02-2026 (D.D.C. Sept. 3, 2006) aff'd, No. 06-7167 (DC Cir. April 8, 2007) (unpublished order granting summary affirmance).
  • Smith v. Hope Village, Inc., 481 F.Supp. 172 (D.D.C. 2007) (wrongful death action against U.S. Bureau of Prisons and contracting halfway house).
  • Petties v. District of Columbia, (1:95-CV-00148) (class action under IDEA for educational and related services).
  • Fair-Gray v. United States, Case No. 03-01372 (D.D.C.) (FTCA wrongful death claim arising from automobile accident with USAID employee in Kenya).
Crowell & Moring Files Amicus Brief Before Supreme Court on Behalf of HBCUs Leaders (August 3, 2022)
Firm News / Announcement
"K-12 Cybersecurity Act of 2021 Launches Initiative to Combat Increasing Cyberattacks on Schools," (October 19, 2021). Contacts: Laurel Pyke Malson, Garylene (Gage) Javier, CIPP/US
Client Alert / Newsletter
Crowell & Moring Named to Global Arbitration Review’s 2021 “GAR 100” List (July 20, 2021)
Firm News / Announcement
"Part 2 - Higher Education and the Biden Administration’s Priorities: Are there significant changes ahead?" Crowell & Moring Webinar (February 16, 2021). Presenters: Kate M. Growley, Laurel Pyke Malson, Preston L. Pugh, Tyler A. O'Connor, Suzanne E. Rode, and Eli Berns-Zieve.
"Part 1 - Higher Education and the Biden Administration’s Priorities: Are there significant changes ahead?" Crowell & Moring Webinar (January 19, 2021). Presenters: Amanda Shafer Berman, Caroline E. Brown, Astor Heaven, Laurel Pyke Malson, Rebecca L. Springer, Suzanne E. Rode, and Eli Berns-Zieve
"Kiel, et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, et al.: Major Takeaways from a California Court Decision Upholding a Flu Vaccination Mandate and Implications for the COVID-19 Vaccine," National Association of College and University Attorneys in NACUA Notes, Vol. 19, No. 2 (December 22, 2020). Co-Authors: A. Marisa Chun, Laurel Pyke Malson and Suzanne E. Rode.
LITIGATION NOTE: Crowell & Moring Defeats Preliminary Injunction Motion, Securing Swift Dismissal of Case Seeking to Halt University of California Flu Vaccination Requirement (December 21, 2020)
Firm News / Announcement
"Department of Education Issues Notice "Clarifying" its Authority to Enforce Section 117 Reporting Requirements," (November 23, 2020). Contacts: Laurel Pyke Malson, Eli Berns-Zieve
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Trump Executive Order Barring Race and Sex “Stereotyping and Scapegoating” Poses Special Challenges for Universities and Colleges," (October 19, 2020). Contacts: Amanda Shafer Berman, Laurel Pyke Malson, Preston L. Pugh, Rebecca L. Springer
Client Alert / Newsletter
Crowell & Moring Represents University of California in Suit against Department of Homeland Security over International Student Directive (July 16, 2020)
Firm News / Announcement

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