The Greedy Trial Lawyers are Distracting Us
Let's face it--for many people, when we think lawsuits, we think lawyers, and when we think lawyers, we think greed. This almost-intuitive mental link between lawsuits and greed or unsavory interests is very convenient for those interested in reducing access to the court system. Under this paradigm, any tort "reforms" that would limit a person's right to go to court or ability to obtain adequate redress, can be discussed as a "reform" aimed at reducing frivolous lawsuits, regardless of the extent to which these policies hurt people with legitimate claims and protect harmful but powerful entities from the rule of law.
So let's think about how the "lawyers=bad" rhetoric is being used to distract us from the strengths and benefits of our legal system, such that any talk of tort "reforms" is focused on reducing lawsuits (how lawyers make a living) rather than making the legal system work more effectively for regular people. By capitalizing on the "greedy trial lawyer" caricature, tort "reform" messaging draws our attention away from the immense social benefits of the civil justice system and gets us thinking about how to stop the lawyers rather than help people with important legal interests who are nonetheless being shut out of the courts, and therefore denied access to justice.
The discussion about how to improve our legal system is neither about greedy lawyers nor evil corporations. Instead, it's about people and their ability to pursue justice through the civil court system. Any reforms of our legal system should be tailored to making justice more attainable for ordinary people.
Do you think the media's fascination with scandals, and thus its coverage of lawyers gone wrong, especially with respect to class actions, contributes to the public's distrust of lawyers?
Given that that distrust is only surpassed by the public's distrust of corporations, I wonder if that even matters.
Instead of focusing on those "greedy trial lawyers" (just a few bad apples whose reputation is, with the help of the corporate lobby's antagonism, spoiling the bunch) or those "evil corporations" (often a reactionary response to tort "reform" hyperbole) we should focus on how to prevent unecessary injuries and allow the injured to find justice in the courts.