There’s an interesting post from the Tortellini today about trial lawyers and their inability to attack the tort reform movement with any skill whatsoever. As the post points out, trial lawyers are fantastic at getting 12 people in a jury to understand even the most complex issues, and to decide in thier favor. That’s what we do. However we can’t seem to come up with a message to convince the public that tort reform is a bad idea.
The public still seems to believe the tort reform message. I think one of the reasons is that the message is strong (ie lawsuits ruin everything, or that lawsuits make the cost of living go up). Our response isn’t strong. Our message isn’t clear. We’re not on the attack. Even if we are on the attack, we’re fighting insurance companies, who for years have told us that we are in good hands, that they are on our side, and that they are like good neighbors. It’s hard to fight a message that’s so ingrained.
Sometimes it feels like trial lawyers are a couple of guys carrying a pitchfork and a board with a nail in it, fighting a large, well-trained army.
Maybe it’s part of the trial lawyer hubris, how we think we’re good at everything. Instead of hiring a PR firm to come up with a comprehensive message and strategy, we try to do it ourselves. It’s the same reason you can open the yellow pages, look at attorney’s ads, and see 100 ads that look almost exactly the same.