Last month class action lawyer Bill Lerach reported to federal prison and yesterday, his partner Mel Weiss was sentenced to 30 months in jail – both for paying “professional plaintiffs” illegal kickbacks, and thereby taking money out of the pockets of their clients. Add to them Dickie Scruggs, the famed class action trial lawyer from Mississippi, who recently pleaded guilty for attempting to bribe a judge. Also part of the equation are the three Kentucky trial lawyers accused of using the money that belonged to their clients to purchase vacation homes, sports cars and the racehorse Curlin, the winner of last year’s Preakness Stakes.
Once you start looking at the big picture, it is clear there is solid evidence that the culture of greed and corruption is growing within the plaintiffs’ bar.
Now is the time for Congress to begin investigations to expose the abusive and fraudulent practices of some of America’s most powerful plaintiffs’ lawyers and take action to enact reform – not give them a $1.6 billion bonus.
Lisa A. Rickard serves as president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), where she provides strategic leadership to ILR's comprehensive program aimed at changing the legal culture that has resulted in our nation's litigation explosion.