Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Country Named Sue

*If America stopped its production of lawyers tomorrow, it might peg along for decades before the number practicing per capita fell to the levels of other leading countries. (The U.S. has 281 lawyers per 100,000 residents; Germany 111; Britain 82; and Japan 11.


There are two points of view about civil litigation, one fantastic and one realistic.

The fantastic view, put out by the press offices of the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the Consumers' Union, is that litigation is a method by which society rights wrongs and metes out justice, and that unless you've done something wrong, you needn't worry about getting sued.

The realistic view is that of Jerome K. Jerome, the turn-of-the-century British humorist (Three Men in a Boat):

"If a man stopped me in the street, and demanded of me my watch," observed Jerome, "I should refuse to give it to him. If he threatened to take it by force, I feel I should, though not a fighting man, do my best to protect it.

"If, on the other hand, he should assert his intention of trying to obtain it by means of an action in any court of law, I should take it out of my pocket and hand it to him, and think I had got off cheaply."

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