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Miers and legal-fee curbs

I linked in passing yesterday to a particularly jejune Associated Press story rehashing a 1995 controversy over whether the Texas Supreme Court should retain its historic power to limit legal fees; AP reporter Sharon Theimer basically gave Dallas attorney Fred Baron a platform with which to air his decade-old grudge against Harriet Miers for having weighed in at the time in favor of preserving the court's right to limit fees. (A copy of the letter she sent is here, PDF). Now Evan Schaeffer (Oct. 10) steps in to correct a couple of the misimpressions left by the article:

It's common for state courts to regulate a state's lawyers; to call this "legislating from the bench" [as did Baron -- W.O.] is not an apt description. And Miers' supposed attack on "greedy trial lawyers" didn't happen either; she wasn't describing all plaintiffs' lawyers, but only those who were pushing [the bill to restrain the court].

The AP also engages in a further bit of Miers-smearing worth noting: it describes her as having "lobbied" then-Gov. Bush to veto the measure and pointedly mentions that her law firm of Locke Liddell "represented several major companies", strongly suggesting that she was acting on behalf of paying clients. Later on, however, it notes that Miers specified in the letter "that she was speaking only in her capacity as a former president of the State Bar of Texas." Many readers will be left with the overall impression that she wasn't playing straight about the capacity in which she wrote the letter -- although the AP provides zero evidence to back up that innuendo, and although there is no sign they gave anyone from the Miers camp a chance to rebut it.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.