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Lawyer Bashing

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I read a post by an unnamed first year associate titled “Complaining About Those Who Falsely Blame Lawyers.” The post responds to office-sized billboard by a so-called “Institute for Legal Reform” asking passerbys to, “Please Don’t Feed The Trial Lawyers.”

What is amazing to me is that the President of the Institute for Legal Reform, Lisa A. Rickard, is Lisa A. Rickard, Esq. She’s a lawyer. Well she’s not only a lawyer, but she also worked for a large firm specializing in trial (litigation) work as shown on the firm’s (Akin, Gump, Strauss Hauer & Feld,LLP) website.

The firm’s litigation group has extensive experience in all aspects of federal and state commercial litigation. Representations include routine lawsuits, as well as matters of extraordinary complexity, including nationwide class actions, parallel civil and administrative proceedings, nationwide and multidistrict litigation, and matters involving massive document productions and other complicated discovery issues. In addition, our litigators have represented clients in many high-profile cases.

So then why is she attacking not only lawyers but also lawyers from the same field in which she was involved? Well one answer may be in her bio. It appears that she moved from lobbying Congress on behalf of Akin Gump, which kind of makes you wonder why a law firm in lobbying Congress, to the Dow Chemical Company.

Hasn’t the Dow Chemical Company been found liable hundreds if not thousands of times for polluting communities and causing all sorts of deaths and serious injuries (not to mention destroying wildlife and the environment)? Here’s a website that almost matter-of-factly lists the more known sources of pollution caused by chemical companys, including Dow, over the years. So is it possible that she may be bitter from being held accountable?

Whether or not you’re a fan of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the organization has focused on combating some of this insidious advertising. This week a full page article ran on about the fifth page of USA Today, responding to these unwarranted attacks on trial lawyers. Fact is, tort reform and trial lawyer bashing are mutally inclusive. Because you can’t trash the people who are being hurt by chemical companies. What effect would that billboard have were it to have a child with leukemia portrayed with no hair? Because those are the ones who they’re trying to hurt by “reforming” the legal system.

Lawyers offering legal services are a businesss and may earn as much business or as little business as their hard work and intellect warrants, just like CEO’s, insurance executives and bankers. The major majority do it ethically and work harder than professionals in many other professions. Because they do their jobs honestly and effectively, lawyers should not draw the hate advertising for which Ms. Rickard is responsible. Lest we start talking about lobbyists…

Thanks to the “unnamed associate” for spreading the word…