Trial Lawyers

Some Republicans justify their votes against basic civil rights such as equal pay for women, or attempts to weaken protections against the violations of due process rights by the police, by saying that they don’t want to “line the pockets of trial lawyers.”

If corporations did not discriminate against women, then there would be no lawsuits … period. The case without any evidence would get thrown out in an instant. Discrimination exists when the perpetrators can get away with it. Without the ability of an individual to file a lawsuit, no corporation would have an incentive to follow the law. Republicans want you to believe that corporations will voluntarily not discriminate anymore, and continually refuse to allow the ability of anyone to discover if any discrimination exists.

The attempts to weaken protections against abuses by the police or other government abuses are even more dangerous, because they directly challenge the lives of citizens. Those protections are essential in any democracy. In an era of Congressionally-sanctioned spying on every American for virtually any reason, the only person standing between you and being falsely imprisoned or even illegally killed by the police are trial lawyers.

The criticisms of “trial lawyers” is a popular rhetorical tool of the Right Wing, but civil lawsuits are the last resort of the average citizen against the powerful. The GM recalls of their cars with fatal defects are another example of what we do as trial lawyers. GM knew about the defects years ago – before many people were killed because of them. GM did nothing to protect lives. They protected themselves, or rather their profits. The government agency charged with identifying those safety hazards didn’t discover the defects because (apparently) the deaths of dozens of people were below their radar (so much for over-regulation). Thanks to trial lawyers, lives will be saved and justice can be done for the victims. It is a textbook example of how trial lawyers protect society and your rights. This offends Republicans because it undermines the power of the rich and the powerful.

As a person who has devoted his life to helping defend the rights of individuals against the wealthy and powerful, I understand why the right wing attacks on my profession. We are the last resort of the people when the powerful victimize. That’s why we are called the “people’s warriors.”

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