The American civil justice system is the best in the world because it provides even our most humble citizen with an opportunity for a fair hearing regarding a grievance, whether the opposing side is someone who lives on the next block, a wealthy individual, a large corporation or even our own government.
Supporters of so-called “legal reform” legislation at national and state levels claim that too many lawsuits have led to excessive costs and delays in our civil justice system. They say juries can no longer be trusted to render fair verdicts, and they allege the American civil justice system is broken.
While our system isn’t perfect, it is a great exaggeration to call it “broken.” And limiting your access to the courthouse or your rights to recovery is not improving the system.
Much of what we hear about “reform” of the civil justice system originates from wealthy individuals, corporations and organizations who want one-way justice. They also seek greater control over our nation’s political agenda. In fact, a report released in late 2003 by the Commonweal Institute examined the so-called “tort reform” movement and the groups behind it. The report, “The Attack on Trial Lawyers & Tort Law,” details the methods these groups have used in a long-term campaign to alter the tort system for the benefit of their supporters and, indirectly, to weaken the progressive causes that trial lawyers tend to support.
Every citizen should, of course, exercise his or her right to vote. But your involvement in the lawmaking process need not stop at the election booth. You should also let your lawmakers know how you feel about proposed changes to our laws. Lawmakers frequently say the opinions of their constituents play an important part in deciding whether they will support or oppose a particular bill.
How to successfully lobby your legislators?
Never tell a lie.
Get to the point.
Keep it simple.
If you call in a group, keep that group small.
Plan your pitch.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Don't forget to close. Always ask for the official's vote.