THE LEGAL UNDERGROUND'S TORT REFORM GLOSSARY . . .
In this lawyer’s opinion, the debate over tort reform has bogged down as the result of too much legalese. As an aid to non-lawyers everywhere, I’ve prepared a short glossary to help keep track of the terms used most often in the tort reform debate.
Advocates of tort reform may not agree with some of my definitions. This illustrates an important feature of the tort reform debate: It’s impossible to please everybody.
1. Trial Lawyer. A trial lawyer is any lawyer who appears in court, no matter whether he’s appearing for the plaintiff or the defense. In the tort reform debate, however, the term is often used pejoratively to refer only to those lawyers who file lawsuits, that is, “plaintiffs’ lawyers.”
2. Plaintiffs’ Lawyers. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are a subset of trial lawyers who always appear for the person who has brought the lawsuit. The use of the word “person” is intentional, since lawyers representing corporations that bring lawsuits, though technically lawyers for the plaintiff, are not plaintiffs’ lawyers. They may, however, be “class action lawyers.”
3. Class Action Lawyers. These are lawyers who are trained to work on class actions. The term can refer to the lawyer appearing either for the plaintiff or the defense. In the tort reform debate, however, some exclude from the definition any lawyer who appears for the defendant in a class action. This exclusion is made most often by “tort reformers.”
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