July 20, 2006

Is a trial lawyer by any other name still a trial lawyer?

Cybercast News Service (CNS) is reporting that the Association of Trial Lawyers of America want to drop the "trial lawyer" part of their name and go with The American Association of Justice. It's part of a PR effort to "'fight back' against attacks on what some consider an overly litigious society." Replace "some" with "almost everyone who isn't a trial lawyer" and they'd be closer to the actual truth.

Some don't see how the name change changes much, however.

The group should change its tactics instead of its name, said Lisa A.
Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform." Rickard called the name change "an astounding admission of the unpopularity of trial lawyers in America."

She said lawyers have no one but themselves to blame: "Decades of abuse of the civil justice system by some of their members have created a sue-happy litigation climate that results in lost jobs, higher consumer prices, and ultimately, little justice for anyone -- even the victims that they represent."

Rickard said the name change is nothing more than "cosmetic surgery" unless trial lawyers make a "real commitment to comprehensive reform of our civil justice system."