Below we noted The Economist’s piece on the American business climate, which discussed the economic harm caused by the “tort tax,” i.e., excess litigation filed in the hopes of an expensive and unjustified jury award.
So maybe there’s a bright side to the recession, that these kinds of cash-seeking lawsuit are also hitting a slump?
Of course not. Reading through our latest issue of “Trial,” the American Association for Justice’s monthly magazine, we see that trial lawyering has managed to escape the more extreme cutbacks and layoffs that have hit major law firms around the country.
There are still some bright spots. Bankruptcy, labor and employment law, and litigation are areas that many analysts say are still stable. And trial lawyers—accustomed to a businesslike approach and fluctuating incomes—are finding creative ways to navigate the stormy economic waters.
“I wouldn’t say that personal injury work is depression-proof, but it is recession-resistant,” said Larry Simon, a lawyer in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and chair of AAJ’s Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Section. “For our lawyers, the big issue is what’s happening with the credit markets. Many are seeing their credit lines reduced, their home equity lines getting smaller, their professional and business credit cards being cut.”
But don’t despair, you litigators!
Simon said lawyers should “swallow your pride and go drumming for business wherever you can. That doesn’t mean you just take any case for the money, but it means you have to work harder and you have to deliver top-notch service. You have to adjust—but you will survive.”
Swallow your pride? Snort…
Elsewhere in the magazine, we see that the AAJ has finally acknowledged that its retired executive director, Tom Henderson, has returned as Acting CEO, replacing Jon Haber. The “President’s Page” column by Les Weisbrod is headlined, “A familiar face returns.” (Subscription only.)
Over at Point of Law, we wrote about Henderson’s recrudescence and the paucity of media coverage about high-level goings on at a prominent, powerful and ascendant trade association. Seemed strange that the media didn’t care. If the same sorts of changes were under way at the National Association of Manufactuers, you could be sure there would be scores of gossipy, speculative pieces in the Beltway media.
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