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May 15, 2007

U.S. Chamber Applauds White House Ban on Trial Lawyer Contingency Fees

Statement of Lisa A. Rickard, President of the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, upon President Bush signing an Executive Order barring all contingency fee arrangements with outside plaintiffs’ lawyers and expert witnesses who work on behalf of the United States Government:

“Today’s Executive Order banning contingency fee arrangements for outside trial lawyers and expert witnesses who work on behalf of the U.S. Government is a major step forward in the fight to change America’s out-of-control lawsuit climate.

“No lawyer or expert witness should be able to pocket millions of dollars simply because he or she has the government as a client. These contingency fee arrangements create a perverse incentive, by combining the power of the government with the personal financial interest of some plaintiffs’ lawyers. Too often the result is millions of dollars of a government settlement or judgment going to trial lawyers, instead of victims.

“The US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has made eliminating government contingency fee arrangements a primary issue with state attorneys general, many of whom allow outside trial lawyers to sue on behalf of the state in speculative lawsuits.

“The Bush Administration’s Executive Order today should serve as an example for state governors and attorneys general to follow.”

The mission of the Institute for Legal Reform is to make America’s legal system simpler, fairer, and faster for everyone. It 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 more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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