Jewish World Review Nov. 21, 2001 / 6 Kislev, 5762
Drs. Michael A.Glueck & Robert J. Cihak
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- THE weeks since 9/11 have been a time of great heroism and unity. They have also been a time for certain groups and persons to disgrace themselves. The professional America-haters; the Blame America First crowd; and an attention-craving ex-president. But now comes a new and in some ways even uglier disgrace. The war-profiteers.
No, we're not talking about defense contractors: the "military-industrial complex" that, as Ronald Reagan pointed out, turns into the "arsenal of democracy" whenever we have a war. We're talking about something far more intolerable and unaffordable.
The trial lawyers.
In a September 28 column we asked, "Can the legal leopards change their spots?" At the time, we had reason to hope that they might. On Wednesday September 12 -- one day after the terrorist attacks -- Leo V. Boyle, President of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) in Washington, DC, announced that the association had asked its members to declare a moratorium on World Trade Center and Pentagon-related lawsuits.
Boyle announced that the ATLA would organize the efforts of members to volunteer their services pro bono on behalf of victims seeking compensation from the Victims' Compensation Fund. Every member of ATLA's Executive Committee volunteered to be a pro bono counsel. The ATLA stated that one-hundred percent of this money should directly benefit the survivors and families and to help those who were widowed or orphaned by the destruction.
We hoped this was a sincere gesture and not a public relations strategy. Since then, the words of the ATLA have grown progressively more hollow:
Donna Knifsend, Esq., CEO of Lawsuit Prevention and Management and an active member of Orange County Citizens Against Law Suit Abuse(OCCALA) is embarrassed by the behavior of her peers. Knifson notes that in a recent survey 76 percent of attorneys do not want their children to grow up to be lawyers. Many are leaving to take lower paying jobs that are more respectable. Maybe there's a reason they get no respect!
Let us make it very clear that we are not against all lawsuits; we acknowledge that some are legitimate and necessary.
But sadly, we must conclude that the legal leopards didn't change their spots after all. When we needed them most to be part of the solution to our national survival they once again choose to be part of the problem.
However, there may be hope . . . for us if not for them. Bill O'Reilly has been riding herd on the charities that raised money for the 9/11 victims, forcing them to deliver as promised. Would that Mr. O'Reilly and lots of others in the media perform a similar service regarding the ATLA. Whatever they do, however much they make . . . reveal and publicize to the max.
Let's not allow America be hurt further by these ugly
11/16/01: Do we need 'Super Smallpox Saturdays'?