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12 Litig. News 1 (1986-1987)

handle is hein.journals/lignws12 and id is 1 raw text is: A QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE SECTION OF LITIGATION  AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION  VOLUME 12, NUMBER I  FALL 1986
LITIGATION
NEWS

Insurance Crisis:
Lawyers Debate the Causes and
Puzzle Over the Solution
by Donna J. Blazevic, Associate Editor
Litigators often view themselves as white knights, cham-
pions of the underdog, and vindicators of the wrongly ac-
cused. They devote long and arduous hours to their cases,
pouring over minutiae, researching until no stone is left un-
turned, all in an effort zealously to protect their clients' inter-
ests. Unfortunately, this view of the trial lawyer has become
tarnished with the advent, a little over a year ago, of the so-
called liability insurance crisis.
Insurance companies' refusal to write liability insurance
policies for certain risks and the geometric increase of-policy
premiums has caused the general public to feel the pinch.
Day care centers, police departments, amusement parks and
physicians, to name a few, have become more expensive or
unavailable.
Greedy Lawyers Are Responsible
Liability insurers blame contingency fees and runaway jury
verdicts for the crisis. According to Consumer Reports
magazine, the Insurance Information Institute has launched a
$6.5 million advertising campaign to blame greedy plain-
tiffs' lawyers for the unavailability of insurance. Insurers and
those representing defendants claim the crisis is also con-
tributed to by expanding theories of liability, the erosion of a
fault-based tort system, the increase in multimillion dollar
judgments, the fact that cases that are settled for more than
they should be because of inconsistencies in court decisions,
(continued on page 4)

Section Scrutinizes Lawyers'
Image Problem
At ABA Annual Meeting
by Mark E. Staib, Associate Editor
The Litigation Section program at the 1986 ABA Annual
Meeting in New York City featured lively discussion of some
of the most controversial issues facing the profession today.
Panels and individual speakers addressed the current public
image of the profession, as shaped by the increasing media
scrutiny of courts and lawyers, as well as lawyers' responses
to the ethical dilemmas they face today. More than 2,000
Section members attended the meeting, held from August 10
to 13.
Showcase Program on the Limits
of Zealous Advocacy
The meeting began with the Presidential Showcase Program,
Issues of Professionalism: The Limits of Zealous Advocacy
and Beyond. The program, which was co-sponsored by the
Litigation Section, the Commission on Professionalism, and
the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline, dealt
with the ethical standards and public image of civil and crimi-
nal litigators. Not surprisingly, the panel discussion un-
covered some serious problems, but no easy solutions.
Eugene C. Thomas of Boise, Idaho, ABA President for
1986-87, dubbed the program the important centerpiece of
the ABA meeting. Outgoing ABA President William W.
Falsgraf of Cleveland, Ohio appointed the ABA Commission
on Professionalism to seek remedies for what he perceived to
(continued on page 12)

IN THIS ISSUE

Justice Powell Denies Counterrevolution 3
La Falce Bills Threaten Insurers' Immunity 4
PROFILE: John R. Tomlinson, New Section Chairman 5

6   Council Actions
6a Section Fall Meeting Program
7   Non-Lawyer Judges: An Inside Report

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