October is a busy month. More than 20 different organizations celebrate either an awareness week or an awareness month during the month of October.

Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch along with other grassroots, legal watchdog groups across the nation observe one such awareness week, "Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week," during the month of October. "Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week" is a week set aside to educate citizens about the tremendous economic and social cost we all pay as the result of personal injury lawyers who game the state's legal system to try to hit the "lawsuit lottery."

I-LAW's message this year is to challenge citizens to take the down ballot judicial races more seriously. Too many judges have allowed the personal injury lawyers to turn our courts into their own personally profitable playground. Good judges matter, and during "Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week," I-LAW is calling on voters to ask judicial candidates if they will stand up to the personal injury lawyers and restore fairness to our courts.

Dozens of mayors across Illinois have issued official proclamations declaring the first week of October "Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week" and joined with I-LAW to encourage voters to become educated about the positions, backgrounds and backers of judicial candidates on the ballot this Fall.

Electing good judges who apply doctrines of common sense and fairness will help Illinois and the Metro East in particular to shed its image as a lawsuit magnet and personal injury lawyer's paradise. A recent report conducted by the non-partisan global market research firm Harris Interactive ranked Illinois 46th out of all 50 states for legal fairness.

Illinois' lawsuit climate ranked beneath every bordering state including: Indiana (14), Iowa (10), Kentucky (38), Missouri (34), and Wisconsin (15). Madison County was also ranked the nation's sixth-worst local court jurisdiction.

Illinois' litigation problem has a direct impact on us all because it hurts our economy. Companies create jobs where the legal system is fair. According to the survey from Harris Interactive, 70 percent of the survey respondents said a state's legal climate has a direct impact on the decision on where to locate a new business or where to expand an existing one.

In other words, the people making decisions on where to create new jobs and opportunities look at a state's legal climate as a factor in making those decisions. In these difficult economic times, Illinois needs to be a magnet for jobs, not lawsuits.

The Metro-East economy continues to suffer from the region's costly reputation for unfair courts and jackpot justice, but the judges and judicial candidates on the ballot this November can play a big role in restoring fairness to our courts, which will in turn create jobs.

"Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week" does not have to end with the first week of October. Area residents can stand with I-LAW and join the fight to restore fairness to our courts. Let's make every week Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week and shed Illinois' reputation as a lawsuit magnet once and for all.

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