The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Association of Trial Lawyers of America, which today will ask its membership to vote to give that 60-year-old political lobbying institution a brand new moniker. ATLA's board of governors already resoundingly approved a switch, voting 91-5 last month to drop any reference to the lawyerly profession, and instead go with the impressively unspecific and high-minded "American Association for Justice." No word yet whether Webster's will formally protest.
Driving this switcheroo is ATLA's concern that more and more Americans are under the impression that trial lawyers are less interested in justice than they are in generating frivolous lawsuits that pad their own bank accounts. That widely held belief is what has in recent years propelled states from Texas to Ohio to enact tort reform, Congress to pass a class-action lawsuit cleanup, and voters to toss out elected judges who favor the plaintiffs bar.
All of which has ATLA (er, AAJ) a little bothered. As President Ken Suggs wrote in a recent letter to members, "Our research shows that if our message is about helping lawyers, we lose. On the other hand, if we're about getting justice and holding wrongdoers accountable, we win." As to whether the research also showed that one way to improve the trial bar's reputation is to stop fleecing the innocent, Mr. Suggs did not say. Instead, the group has tripled its communications staff and hired noted pollsters and campaign strategists to recast its image. As the old joke goes, it's 98% of lawyers who give the rest of them a bad name.
Imagine that! I only wish the WSJ would point out the other 2%. Fat Chance!!! In a way they're "Homegrown Terrorists."