Attacking Personal Injury Lawyers: Corporate America As Usual
Justice for you starts with a lawyer who listens
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Attacking Personal Injury Lawyers: Corporate America As Usual

Friday, May 16, 2008By Richard Alexander

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.'' That was written by William Shakespeare, and put into the mouth of the character Dick the Butcher in ''Henry VI,'' Part II, Act IV, Scene II.Waltzing into the killing fields of lawyers is an enticing idea to many, but besides the fact that some bad attorneys are predatory, who else will stand up for your rights?

Corporations have the power. And they have their own fleet of lawyers, who are paid out of deep pockets. Who stands up for the rest of us?

Personal injury attorneys:  If you get screwed, they'll stand up for you.

Bad medicine, infected food, what else? Who will protect us? Attorneys, who have been victims of a smear campaign by the corporations and government.

Corporate interests have access to lawmakers because they pay hard cash - campaign money, lavish junkets -- it goes on and on.

But the public has been led, by the media, to believe that personal injury attorneys are somehow to blame.  For what? For protecting the small guy? Instead of telling those tales of victory, the media prefer a diet of stories talking about not-guilty verdicts and appellate reversals.

What they rarely report is that prisons are overcrowded, that Sheriff's deputies are seeking reductions in sentences to clear jail jam.  The departments can't even fill their slots. Look at the billboards seeking recruits.  They're all over.

In any case, when only the exceptional ruling receives coverage, the public can reasonably assume, over time, that the exception is the rule.

It's not.

Nobody is speaking out on behalf of our profession. Not to get preachy, but we are a crucial part of our republic, which was founded on law.

So let's do something. When it comes to dealing with the media, bar leaders and lawyers have done nothing because they assume the issue is too large to address.

Again, it's not.

Take responsibility for speaking out. On the Internet. In letters to the editor. In opinion articles.

We are problem solvers. We take adverse interests and come to a reasonable solution.

Our citizens need to know, understand and appreciate their rights. Otherwise, they will end up giving them away. The media need to take note. If ever there was an institution that benefited from lawyers, it's the media. Check out New York Times v. Sullivan, which is taught to every journalism student in the United States.

Lawyers are an engine for our economy. We advise businesses and labor on how to untangle laws and regulations so that commerce and trade can flourish. Working behind the scenes, we have made this country the great financial and industrial success that it is today.

The most important cases are those of the unpopular. That's why lawyers are so vital. What's the point in defending cases that everyone agrees with? How is that protecting our constitutional rights?

Again, it's not.

Lawyers have a special ability for analysis, an honest regard for facts, and an open-mindedness to examine a problem from all sides.

The media need to get it. Stop just reporting on when things fail.  Start reporting on when they work.

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Onward,

Richard Alexander

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