Exp. Lawyer: So, kid, have you seen Point of Law, Walter Olson’s new project? Sorry about the cigar smoke, by the way.
Law Student: I’ll just quit breathing for a while. But yes, I took a look at Point of Law. I didn’t know you were a fan of weblogs.
Exp. Lawyer: Only when they’re fair and balanced. It’s an exciting weblog too. A few days ago, the managing editor, Jim Copland, accused plaintiffs’ lawyer Fred Baron of “spouting off” to the New York Times!
Law Student: A weblog with a managing editor? Now I’ve heard everything. Are you sure you can’t blow that smoke the other way?
Exp. Lawyer: Cigars are good, kid. You should try one. But let me finish. Fred Baron made the ridiculous claim in the New York Times that the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry and the chemical industry have spent over $200 million over the last five years in ad campaigns to make plaintiffs' lawyers look like villains. And Jim Copland called him on it. On Point of Law, he wrote, “Mr. Baron, can you back that up?” It’s been three days, and not a word from Baron!
Law Student: Does Fred Baron read Point of Law?
Exp. Lawyer: Who cares? Overlawyered picked it up too. Walter Olson wrote that Copland “dared tort czar Fred Baron to substantiate his claim.”
Law Student: Did anyone e-mail Baron or anything? Tell him about all this daring and challenging?
Exp. Lawyer: You’re missing the point.
Law Student: Does Point of Law even have comments? How is Baron supposed to respond—by holding a press conference? Anyway, maybe you’re missing the point. Do you doubt that those industries Baron mentioned have spent millions of dollars on the anti-lawyer advertisements that show up during every state judicial race?
Exp. Lawyer: Of course I doubt it. I’ve never read about it on Overlawyered. Or on Point of Law, for that matter.
Law Student: Then let me fill you in. In 2002, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was going to spend up to $15 million for a single set of TV ads. Lots of money, right?
Exp. Lawyer: Sure, but it’s not $200 million.
Law Student: Or how about Forbes? You’d believe a pro-business magazine, wouldn’t you? Last year, Forbes reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is funded by those industries that Fred Baron mentioned, spent $150 million from 2000 to 2003 on a “secret war” against plaintiffs’ lawyers and state court judges.
Exp. Lawyer: Big deal, kid. $150 million isn’t $200 million. You bleeding hearts just can’t add. But I'm getting bored. You sure you don’t want to turn off your brain and try one of these cigars? We could hang out for the rest of the afternoon.
Law Student: To tell you the truth, I’ve got to run. Maybe we’ll continue this conversation another time.