By Lisa Rickard
President, Institute for Legal Reform
Is the civil justice system losing its human element? Is it becoming, instead, a machine-like system that produces money more certainly than justice?
The answer to both questions, unfortunately, is “yes.”
Components of today’s litigation machine – like third-party funding, mass advertising, bundled multi-district litigation and an ongoing government assault on arbitration – are each troubling in their own right. When integrated, they overrun and push aside the human element that is essential for true justice.
Like the sci-fi movie machines and monsters that we all fear (from the Terminators to the Matrix to the raptors in Jurassic Park), the litigation machine is an example of human creations that have gone too far.
Litigation finance pumps money into the machine. Mass advertising harvests often-faceless clients. Multi-district litigation removes the individual from the process. Algorithms now predict lawsuit outcomes using factors such as a judge’s record and the type of lawsuit – to predict lawsuit (and therefore revenue) outcomes.
The result? Litigation, today, seems less about the fair resolution of disputes, and more about the business of generating revenue. It’s a machine that is operating frequently without clients and increasingly without a conscience.
The Institute for Legal Reform’s annual Summit is providing a much-needed look under the hood of the modern litigation machine.
By looking at the components of the litigation machine and how they interrelate, ILR and our partners are offering perspective on how dangerous it is to lose the human element when it comes to justice.
Seeing the machine for what it is – from its individual components to its overall structure and integration – is the first step toward making sure that what happens at the end of those sci fi and monster movies also happens in civil justice: Humankind must prevail against the litigation machine.
To watch Lisa Rickard’s keynote remarks at the 2016 Legal Reform Summit, click here.
You can find more information on ILR’s 2016 Summit including recently released data and information on each panel discussion here.