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Overlawyered.com explores an American legal system that too often turns litigation into a weapon against guilty and innocent alike, erodes individual responsibility, rewards sharp practice, enriches its participants at the public’s expense, and resists even modest efforts at reform and accountability.
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Overlawyered is written by Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of several books about the U.S. litigation system, Ted Frank, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who directs its Liability Project (and formerly a practicing lawyer with the large law firm O’Melveny & Myers), and David Nieporent, a practicing lawyer in New Jersey. The site is not affiliated with any of these organizations and reflects only its authors’ views.
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A (somewhat out-of-date) discussion of the site’s format, which may be useful for visitors interested in searching and linking our archives, is here.
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The following is a version [updated to December 2006] of a statement explaining the site posted in its early days:
This site got its start in July 1999 after I decided that the Web had gone for too long without an attempt to collect, annotate and present in a (somewhat) systematic way the growing quantity of online material documenting the need for reform of the American civil justice system. For some time previously I’d built up a personal website housing a large collection of my own writings on litigation and other issues. At the same time, for my own research needs, I was building an ever-growing library of pointers to links and resources, authors and news sources on the state of the justice system. Why not put that library online to help others interested in the same issues?
The growing traffic on the site since then has made it evident that there is a wide audience in America and around the world for the site’s mix of serious and entertaining commentary on the frequently overreaching consequences of American law. For a sampling of the many nice things said about us, check our accolades page.
Overlawyered.com is not published by, and should not be seen as reflecting the views of, any wider organization (including the Manhattan Institute and American Enterprise Institute, with which I and Ted are respectively affiliated). The site’s modest hosting and operating expenses come out of my own pocket, the outflow occasionally stanched by the generosity of readers who shop at our Amazon bookstore or donate through the Amazon Honor System or, more recently, by ad revenue.
— Walter Olson, editor
For Overlawyered content before June 24, 2003, consult this page.
Highlights of coverage of Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal on Overlawyered, 1999-2002:
Nov. 4-5, 2002 (challenged by Martha Dean); May 8, 2002 (sues own state client); June 12, 2001 (Sony “ghost blurber” fictionally located in Ridgefield, Ct., making it his business); Oct. 10, 2000 (David Plotz); Jun. 12, 2000 (up for Second Circuit vacancy); April 6, 2000 (anti-business grandstanding); Mar. 31, 2000 (punishes gun industry for resistance); Feb. 16, 2000 (tobacco-fee bonanza); Feb. 3, 2000 (has “no idea” whether law firms he hired to represent Connecticut are overcharging); Dec. 2, 1999 (firearms).