The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform released its seventh annual ranking of the 50 state legal systems last week. To the surprise of no one here, the trial lawyers are up in arms.  The American Association for Justice – a.k.a. the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (see story on their name change here) – has beefed up their communications operation in recent years. Their rapid response “war room” put out a press statement last week so rapidly, they forgot to reference the correct data. In fact, their information was so old, they referenced West Virginia as being ranked 49th – something it hasn’t been in four years.

It seems that the entire set of plaintiffs’ lawyer talking points are recycled, tired, and out of step, along with their notion of the actual facts. But we do appreciate the help they bring in drawing attention year after year to our study.

For the record, the ILR Lawsuit Climate study is the most comprehensive examination of the perceptions of senior corporate litigators and legal counsel in corporations nationwide. The average respondent has 19 years of experience in the field, and all who rank the states have specific experience in those states they evaluate.

To answer the trial lawyers, yes, our study is absolutely one of perceptions of people who help to make decisions on where billions of dollars of capital will be invested and hundreds of thousands of jobs are located.

If trial lawyers don’t think the perceptions of these decision makers are important, we can put them in touch with many state governors who are surely interested in these perceptions.

The plaintiffs’ trial lawyers were quick to put out their "pre-buttal" (for the uninitiated, that’s a rebuttal released before they actually saw the study to which they were reacting) full of words like “wrongdoing” and “misdeeds” in their attempt to discredit this study. But the trial lawyers have not been as quick to talk about the actual wrongdoers during a year that has seen some of the biggest trial lawyers in the entire country sentenced to prison for their misdeeds.


Bryan Quigley

Bryan Quigley is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.