U.S. Chamber to Speak Out Against the Commercialization of Law at Annual Legal Reform Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today will speak out against the commercialization of the American legal system and its shift away from the administration of…

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) today will speak out against the commercialization of the American legal system and its shift away from the administration of justice at its 13th Annual Legal Reform Summit.

“The increasing commercialization of our justice system – a development that shifts the legal balance of power away from litigants and towards lawyers, investors, and other third parties – is whittling away at the rule of law,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard.  “If left unchecked, it will marginalize justice and fundamentally change our society.”

Rickard and U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will be joined by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and dozens of business, legal, and political leaders who will speak at today’s event.

Panels at the Summit will discuss trends in mergers and acquisitions litigation, the treatment of litigation as a profit machine, issues of concern to state attorneys general and the business community, transnational and extraterritorial litigation, and federal regulatory and prosecution policies.

“From sensational lawyer advertising, to third-party litigation financing, to the many class actions that primarily benefit attorneys, the new legal ecosystem that is developing would be unrecognizable to our Founding Fathers,” said Rickard.

ILR will also propose new policies regarding key legal reform topics at today’s Summit. Stopping the Sale on Lawsuits: A Proposal to Regulate Third-Party Investments in Litigation proposes a federal regulatory framework to restrict third-party litigation financing.  Additionally, Legal Limbo: Seeking Clarity in How and When the Department of Justice Declines to Prosecute suggests improvements to how the Department notifies subjects that cases have been closed without prosecution. 

Meanwhile, Federalism, The Framers, and Federal Legal Reform: Setting the Record Straight rebuts the states’ rights-based constitutional arguments against federal legal reform.  The Trial Lawyers’ New Merger Tax examines the economic toll of unmerited merger and acquisition lawsuits. The Exclusion Illusion: Reforming Ineffective and Unfair Health Care Fraud Preventions and Enforcement Regime reveals dysfunctional elements of the health care fraud enforcement system.  Land Rush! The Latest Legal Frontier of Unclaimed Property Enforcement and Litigation explores the legal tensions and business risks created by new rules and aggressive enforcement related to unclaimed property in the life insurance industry, and suggests a way forward for a balanced compliance regime rooted in established law and industry best practices.

ILR will be honoring key individuals and organizations who are working to improve America’s litigation environment with the ILR Legal Reform Awards.  Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron T. Steele received the Judicial Achievement Award, while several senior officials from the state of Mississippi will accept the State Legislative Achievement Award.  The Outstanding Alliance Award will be presented to The Latino Coalition, and the American Tort Reform Association will receive the Research and Policy Award.  Finally, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry will be recognized with the Outstanding Organization Award.

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.