We all want to be the best at something: the best athlete, the best musician, the best actor, the best whatever it is we've chosen to be.
Winning an Olympic gold medal or a Grammy or an Oscar is often the highlight of a person's career, something most of us can only dream of.
It is possible, though, for many of us to be the best at something, somewhere, if the thing we've chosen to excel at is odd enough and our circle of competitors sufficiently small.
Being the worst at something is also a distinction, but not one many aspire to – except, perhaps, in jest or in one of those oddball competitions that reward failure (e.g., a poker game in which the pot goes to the worst hand).
Unfortunately, being the worst at something, or among the worst, is a distinction that the State of Illinois has earned, along with Cook and Madison Counties.
This distinction, which our state and these two counties have borne for years, was recently reaffirmed by a survey commissioned by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (owner of this newspaper) to evaluate the fairness and reasonableness of state liability systems across the country. The 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey was conducted by Harris Poll, using a national sample of 1,203 in-house general counsel, senior litigators or attorneys, and other senior executives at companies with at least $100 million in annual revenues.
Cook County was ranked as the second worst local jurisdiction in the country, Madison County as the fourth. That pathetic performance brought our whole state down, relegating Illinois to the status of 48th (i.e., third worst).
Illinois ranked 49th for “treatment of class actions and mass consolidation” cases, and dead last in enforcing venue requirements and preventing venue shopping.
These negative achievements have serious consequences for the economy of our state and the well-being of our people. Only the most twisted person could celebrate them. The rest of us must strive to correct them.