Washington Post has the scoop, "Linda Lipsen to become head of American Association for Justice":
Linda Lipsen, who has headed the group's advocacy and lobbying team for 17 years, was approved on Saturday by the AAJ board, officials said. Lipsen will succeed Tom Henderson, who held the job on an interim basis for the past year.
[UPDATE: 10:30 a.m. -- Here's AAJ's news release.]
Having searched unsuccessfully for a year to find a suitable replacement for Jon Haber, the AAJ's board must have decided the association could not go into an election cycle under an interim boss. The death of tort reform in federal health care legislation is a testimony to Lipsen's skill as a lobbyist, but to search for a year before picking an internal candidate suggests she's a fall-back choice. Lobbying acumen does not necessarily translate into organizational chops, which is important given the association's financial troubles, as reported last September by The Washington Times, "Trial lawyers lobby sinks $6.2M in debt."
First task: Referee these disputes. From The Biloxi-Sun Herald, "Group wants lawyers investigated":
Out-of-state attorneys and runners who work for them are soliciting clients for lawsuits over the oil spill. The Mississippi Association for Justice, an organization of attorneys who represent injured people, is asking Attorney General Jim Hood to investigate.
"We have heard numerous stories of businesses along the Mississippi Gulf Coast that are getting as many as half a dozen phone calls per hour from out-of-state law firms," the organization's president, Steve Mullins, said in a letter to Hood. Mullins said trial lawyers' associations in Alabama, Louisiana and Texas support the call for an investigation.
"We've all collectively had enough of this," Mullins said in an interview with the Sun Herald. "You can't just come into this state and just represent people willy-nilly. It's illegal. It's unethical."
It's our feeding frenzy. Stay out!
(We've edited this since its first posting to add the AAJ news release and make it read a little better.)