A Nation Without Trial Lawyers?

There is apparently a simple solution for the stain of being unpopular with the public, change your name.

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America voted during its convention this week to change its name to the American Association for Justice. Spokeswoman Chris Mather said there was overwhelming support for the change, and that the new name “reflects whose side we’re on in the fight for justice.” The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, a critic of the trial lawyers group, called it “an astounding admission of the unpopularity of trial lawyers in America.”

So they are now for justice! What they are really doing here is creating confusion as to what the organization is. What is next, a new moniker for the trial lawyers themselves? How about Justians?

UPDATE (James Joyner): And, presumably, we would have Association for Justice members on both sides of many if not most civil suits. So . . . both sides in each case are fighting for “justice.”

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Uncategorized
Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. John Burgess says:

    I think “Little Tin Gods” was proposed at one time. The trial lawyers went into arbitration and settled on “Gods!”(TM)

  2. No Justice, no piece?

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Everybody hates lawyers.

    Until they need one, of course…

  4. Michael says:

    UPDATE (James Joyner): And, presumably, we would have Association for Justice members on both sides of many if not most civil suits. So . . . both sides in each case are fighting for �justice.�

    Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the ideal situation? That both sides are fighting for “justice” for their client? Isn’t that the whole point of it all? What am I missing?

  5. Mikey NTH says:

    American Association for Justice? Cool!!!
    Do I get a cape with that?

  6. legion says:

    Launch every Zig!

    For great justice!

  7. Dodd says:

    Michael has it right. The entire purpose of the adversarial system is that zealous advocates on both sides ‘test truth’ so that a jury of one’s peers can arrive at justice. So, yes, analytically, lawyers on both sides are indeed “fighting for ‘justice.'”

    This is not to say that the system has not been distorted in many ways that can sometimes detract from the ideal pursued, of course.

  8. Kent G. Budge says:

    Ditto Dodd. The problem is not the adversarial system or the existence of trial lawyers, per se. I’m sure going to want a lawyer if I’m ever hauled into court. And I’ve known lawyers I thought were pretty decent human beings.

    The problems are systemic and require changes to the system, not substitution of different people in the existing system. As conservative Republicans have recently discovered about Congress and the Presidency.

    And by “system” I mean popular culture at least as much as I mean law and procedure.

    I think part of the problem is a selection effect. The press love to report on spectacular, high-stakes cases, usually involving a popular criminal defendant or an “evil” corporation being civilly sued. Both the cases and the reporting are highly distorted and unrepresentative.

    Problem is, they affect how the public view law in general, and thereby have a destructive feedback effect. (I was going to say “negative feedback effect,” but it’s technically positive feedback with a very negative outcome.)