How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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August 03, 2004



They should nominate Jeri Ryan, a passionate conservative.


"In 1989, while studying at Northwestern, Jeri won the sixth annual Miss Northwestern Alpha Delta Phi Pageant. That same year, she won the Miss Illinois Pageant and went on to come in fourth in the 1990 Miss America Pageant."


abnu - Jeri Ryan for Senate: You Will Be Assimilated

Carbondale's action is proof that SIUC has managed to get the whole town drunk and stupid. ;)

What's Obama's stance on tort reform?


Barack Obama: “Anyone who denies there’s a crisis with medical malpractice insurance is probably a trial lawyer.”


Ted: Interesting quote. But would it be too cynical of me to point out that those words were obviously crafted by a master politician? Obama seems to be dissing trial lawyers, but actually he's only admitting that there is a "crisis with medical malpractice insurance." Doesn't everyone admit that's true, even trial lawyers? Isn't the argument over the cause of the rise in the malpractice premiums: Is the cause doctors, lawyers, the tort system, the insurance companies, a combination?

Anyway, a Republican who reads Obama's statement might think, "Hey, he's on my side." It's not so clear when you parse the comment.

David Giacalone

Ted raises an interesting question about Obama's position on tort reform. Here's an excerpt from an email inquiry I just sent to his campaign:

Yesterday, Evan Schaeffer, editor of the weblog Notes from the (Legal) Underground wrote about "tort reform" laws passed by two Illinois cities. Today, Ted Frank of left a Comment at (Legal) Underground in which he quotes Barack Obama as saying “Anyone who denies there’s a crisis with medical malpractice insurance is probably a trial lawyer.” His source is a news Bulletin of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, dated May 10, 2004, which also says "Obama acknowledged a need for tort reform."

Mr. Schaeffer is a trial lawyer and opponent of tort reform. Mr. Frank is a strong supporter of tort reform. I have no position on the subject of tort reform, but have written extensively on the topic of the standard contingency fee, which I believe consistently extracts excessive fees from clients (see, e.g., my ethicalEsq posting Some UnCommonly Good Advice on Contingency Fees).

Because I respect Mr. Obama's intelligence and integrity, I would very much like to know his position on tort reform and his reasoning. Can you clarify?

I'll let you guys know as soon as I have a response.


Well, obviously, the doctors commit three times as much malpractice in Illinois as they do in Wisconsin, because they're so much worse-trained, especially with only two Illinois medical schools in the top ten nationwide. So it can't possibly be the legal environment just because it substantially differs between the two states.

I look forward to the Obama campaign's response and am shocked, shocked to hear Evan accuse him of such Clintonesque hair-splitting.

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