I’m finally on web duty again following my trip to give a talk before the American Tort Reform Association gathering in Las Vegas. ATRA has two current projects that especially merit readers’ attention. One is its recent update of its “Judicial Hellholes” reports on local jurisdictions famed for unfairness to outsider defendants, such as Madison County, Ill., Jefferson County, Miss., St. Louis, Philadelphia, Miami and Los Angeles. Recent news coverage can be found here.
The other project is ATRA’s recent launch of what it calls the Legal Reform Champions List. The list is intended to address a widespread (and sometimes infuriating) phenomenon: many lawyers who make a career specialty of litigation defense quietly undermine their clients’ interests by working covertly or openly to block reforms that would curb the volume or cost of litigation, often mindful of their own self-interest in ensuring there are plenty of future lawsuits requiring their services to defend. ATRA’s new list takes a relatively positive approach to this problem: rather than denounce by name defense lawyers who operate as effective allies of the litigation lobby, it singles out for praise those who (often at a real cost to their strict monetary interest) work in the public policy process to combat excessive litigation. We wrote about this problem in The Rule of Lawyers (in a passage not online through conventional means, but available with registration through Amazon’s book-peek feature).
I am happy to report something I wasn’t expecting when I set off for the trip: at my Monday appearance ATRA was kind enough to give me its “Civil Justice Achievement Award” 2003. This seems to be the year for me to receive handsomely engraved awards (see Sept. 24). Thanks! (& welcome Ernie the Attorney readers)