IS ATLA ASHAMED OF ITS TRIAL LAWYERS? . . . Washington Wire confirms something I heard rumored last week: the Association of Trial Lawyers of America is considering a name change. I suppose the thinking goes like this: sure we're trial lawyers, but since everyone hates trial lawyers, we ought to call ourselves something different. Something with "justice" in the name, according to the account I linked, which I first saw at Overlawyered.
No one's asking me--and I won't be at the ATLA meeting in July to cast a vote--but I think it's an awful idea. It just seems too much like that Orwellian trick of distracting attention from the essence of things through clever naming: the Class Action "Fairness" Act, for example, or the phrase tort "reform."
It's a technique I complained about long ago in my post "Beware the Cynic Incubators." Is ATLA is going the way of the cynic incubators? Perhaps there's some other explanation I'm missing. Meanwhile, I wonder if name changes even work. Does anyone remember that the corporation called Wyeth was once called "American Home Products," but changed its name once it seemed the fen-phen crisis was over? Not really. American Home Products changed its name, but even as Wyeth it's still associated with fen-phen. Does anyone hear about the company called "Altria" and fail to think of cigarettes? Not too many, I bet.
This will be an interesting one to watch. Even if ATLA changes its name, I'll still be a fan of trial lawyers.