Illinois Civil Justice League: Ghost of Trial Lawyer Future

December 19, 2004

Ghost of Trial Lawyer Future

If you enjoy "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, a quick read of The Story of the Ghost of Judicial Hellhole Future (aka John Hopkins' new guest column in the Madison County Record) will bring a holiday smile to your face. Hopkins' satirical account of a trial lawyer being "visited" by a ghost in the Stagger Inn parking lot alternates between an apology for the "greedy baby lawyers" who have invaded Madison County and a manifesto for trial lawyers to return to power.

While I'm unsure how much - if any - of the story is set in fact (although I'd like to know more about the $8000 given to "Old Man Lakin" to "retire the Maag campaign debt"), I found two paragraphs in this column particularly interesting.

Trial lawyers enjoy telling the media that there's nothing to the Judicial Hellhole assessments of Madison County. But this quote adds an interesting twist, considering it was written by one of more famous Edwardsville plaintiffs attorneys:

“We had an edge on the plaintiff’s side, no question, but it reflected the blue collar make up of the place. It was kept under the radar screen, nobody went overboard, nobody drew attention to the Courts. The lawyers and the judges were respected by the public, respected each other, and respected the law. Now the place is crawling with reporters, reformers and baby lawyers, all drawn to Judicial Hellhole No. 1."

If someone's ready to go on the record about "an edge to the plaintiff's side," it being "kept under the radar screen," what going "overboard" exactly means, and who "baby lawyers" refers to, I'd be ready to see it posted as a comment to this post.

The story by Hopkins finishes with a Holiday Trial Lawyer Manifesto:

"But you and the other members of the practicing Bar have the power to reverse the trends, if only you have the heart, have the will, to take back YOUR legal system, and bring back your county.”

Remember, newspaper accounts by trial lawyers always deny any bias or problem with the courts, so these statements must actually be as fictional as the story, huh?

I always thought that the public's tax dollars paid for our local court system, so I'm "shocked" that anyone (ghost or fictional trial lawyer) would suggest that they OWN the legal system. While the "ghost" is "reversing" events from 2004, it's funny that there's no mention of dumpster-diving or intimidation of campaign volunteer's families?

Unfortunately, Hopkins' new Christmas tale lacks any surprise ending (I was hoping for a trial lawyer wandering the streets of Edwardsville giving away his personal fortune). An alternate ending to the story is just completed: "God bless us every one," said Tiny Tim, who would be left in the Metro-East without any doctors in 2005.


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