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Lawprofs for lawsuit expansion

The law school of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island is perhaps best known to readers of this site as the home base of Prof. Carl Bogus, a vocal defender of the U.S. tort system and the author of the not-satirically-titled book Why Lawsuits Are Good for America. A week from Friday, April 20, the school will be sponsoring a symposium entitled "Genuine Tort Reform". "For decades," the conference agenda notes disapprovingly, "the term 'tort reform' has been used by those who wish to curtail the civil justice system". The "genuine" reform that will be discussed at the conference, we may infer, will be more likely to involve the expansion of chances to sue.

On behalf of the conference, it can at least be said that the ideological lineup of its speakers runs the gamut from A to, oh, maybe L or M; an actual moderate or two like Yale's Peter Schuck can be found in the mix, along with the predictable line-up of pro-tort stalwarts from Marc Galanter and Neil Vidmar on down. It would only have spoiled the tone, no doubt, to invite any strong critics of the modern torts revolution, who might bring the contagion of "non-genuine" reform ideas. According to the event page, the symposium "is supported by a generous grant from the Robert L. Habush Endowment" -- Habush, of course, being the well-known Milwaukee plaintiff's attorney and former ATLA president. The agenda of the conference is here (PDF), and its brochure (also PDF) is here. Observe, by the way, the brochure's URL: http://law.rwu.edu/admin/uploads/atla.pdf. What is that concluding "atla.pdf" all about, do you think?

The Roger Williams lineup might be hailed as a model of balance and judiciousness when compared with the ideological cast of this New York Law School "Plaintiff's Bar Symposium" last spring, sponsored by NYLS's Center of Professional Values and Practice, in which the major topic of dispute appears to be whether America's plaintiff's lawyers deserve blame for not filing more suits than they do. For those who care about these things, the Peck/Vail paper (PDF) has a critical mention of yours truly.




Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.