What’s in a name? Not much, if it’s a misnomer

By The Madison County Record | Apr 20, 2013

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the American Association for Justice is laying it on thick.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the American Association for Justice is laying it on thick.

Don’t overdo it, boys and girls of the plaintiffs bar: It may go to our heads. As our readers know, we’ve spent years advocating for tort reform, while simultaneously exposing the self-serving, and ethically questionable tactics of some trial lawyers.

Our persistence and powers of persuasion are working. Every day, more Americans are realizing that trial attorneys filing one class action suit after another often accomplish little for those allegedly harmed, but almost invariably do manage to enrich the lawyers, and frequently bankrupt the targeted companies, thereby ruining the livelihood of the hundreds if not thousands of employees who lose jobs as a result.

The white knight fighting for justice often is being exposed as a gunslinger dressed in black, hiring out to anyone with a grievance (real or imagined) but working primarily for personal enrichment.

If the members of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) don’t like this new image, who can blame them? They would be right to credit us for bringing the good guy image into question, but wrong to think that they can restore it by cynical attempts to copy our efforts.

It may seem like a simple matter of slick PR for some in AAJ, but there’s much more to it than that.

At a conference of trial lawyers in Las Vegas last week, the AAJ held an auction to raise funds for its “Take Justice Back” media campaign. An auction booklet posted online declared breathlessly that the civil justice system is “under attack -- and the forces working against it are formidable.”

That would be us and we are “formidable.” But we’re not working against the civil justice system: we’re working for it. We use facts, not fancy ads to make our case. That’s why we’re succeeding.

If the AAJ wants to improve its image, it first should look to cull from its ranks those courthouse gunslingers whose primary goal is a big payday rather than the righting of a wrong.


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