I resigned my position as a staff member at Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyer's College when I became persuaded that the place was chock-full of nuts. And I am not talking about the coffee.
The college won't permit prosecutors to attend. It won't permit insurance defense lawyers to attend. No, it wants only those pure of heart. Only those dedicated to the pursuit of "justice". As though there justice were a monopoly horded on only one side of a courtroom's aisle.
So I will also today tender my resignation to the American Association for Justice, formerly known as the American Trial Lawyers Association. At its recent annual meeting, the ATLA voted to change its name. Why? It is running scared. Trial lawyers have a bad name. Justice is good. Just like Apple Pie.
I am a trial lawyer. I have represented and do represent prosecutors, police officers, persons accused of rape, state legislators, murderers, traffickers in child pornography, municipal officials, victims of police misconduct, employees, drug addicts and dealers, and pimps, prostitutes and others in trouble. And plently of other people, too. All come with needs and interests that need protection and vindication.
The trial lawyers' association is desparate to win the battle for tort reform. There is nothing wrong with our courts, they say. Big verdicts and huge fees are part of the pursuit of justice. Class action suits aren't a game, but rather a gold mine with Athena's scales measuring out fees. Changing the name to American Association for Justice is just plain silly, and desperate.
What's in a name? Not much. Unless you are a trial lawyer ashamed of your calling and afraid that someone might some day come seize your Lear Jet.
American Association for Justice? Forgive me, but I thought all members of the bar were a member of that association.
I wonder whether the folks at the trial lawyers' club will give me a refund on the unearned portion of my membership dues? Or is quantum meruit no longer justice?