Recent Events

Professor Brickman participated in a panel discussion on November 10th at the 2011 Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention on "Attorney Fees in Class Actions." 

Professor Brickman testified before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee on September 9, 2011.  The hearing was on "How Fraud and Abuse in the Asbestos Compensation System Affect Victims, Jobs, the Economy and the Legal System."

Professor Brickman discussed his book, LAWYER BARONS at the Annual Membership meeting of the American Tort Reform Association in Washington, D.C. on March 29, 2011 and at the Heritage Foundation on March 30, 2011.
 
Professor Brickman was interviewed on the Larry Parks television show about LAWYERS BARONS on March 10, 2011.  You can access the show here Larry Parks interviews Prof. Lester Brickman - Lawyer Barons.
 
Professor Brickman was profiled on the TortsProf Blog on March 1, 2011.  Available here.

LAWYER BARONS: WHAT THEIR CONTINGENCY FEES REALLY COST AMERICA, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011 was the subject of a Book Forum on February 17, 2011 presented by the Manhattan Institute.  Kathryn S. Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City responded to Prof. Brickman’s presentation.  The event took place at the Harvard Club, 35 W. 44th St., New York City.  

Professor Brickman has published a book titled LAWYER BARONS: WHAT THEIR CONTINGENCY FEES REALLY COST AMERICA (Cambridge University Press, Feb. 2011). This book distills over 20 years of his research on contingency fees.  It is a broad and deep inquiry into how contingency fees -- which provide the “key to the courthouse” for injured litigants -- also distort our civil justice system and endanger democratic government.  While the public senses that lawyers manipulate the justice system to serve their own ends, few are aware of the high costs that come with contingency fees.  This book sets out to change that, providing a window into the seamy underworld of contingency fees that the bar and the courts not only to tolerate but even protect and nurture.  Professor Brickman states that his intent in writing the book is fourfold: 1) to demonstrate how  contingency fees have empowered lawyers to shape our civil justice system in ways that further their financial interests while relegating the interests of the polity to secondary importance; 2) to point out a compelling need to provide the same intense scrutiny as we are now focusing on our havoc-wreaking financial institutions, on the effects of, and the costs imposed by, the financial incentives for tort lawyers and class actions lawyers to file lawsuits; 3) to provide citizens and policymakers with the knowledge to make informed judgments about how fundamental allocations of power between the branches of government have been recast by contingency fee lawyers in the course of collaborative efforts with judges to enlarge the scope of liability of the tort system and the role of judges in allocating resources; and 4) to offer meaningful corrective measures that are politically feasible and protective of both consumers of legal services and of society.
   Though contingency fees have been hotly debated among legal experts over the last several decades, this is the first book that analyzes the costs imposed by contingency fees and challenges the view of torts scholars that tort lawyers’ profits, though great, are socially beneficial.  Contrary to a broad consensus in contemporary legal scholarship, Professor Brickman argues that the level of financial incentives available to lawyers to litigate do, in fact, distort the objectives of our civil justice system and impose other unconscionable social costs. Click here for the Table of Contents.  Click here for Book Cover. For the review by Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, in the New York Law Journal, Jan. 27, 2011 at 6, click here.  For the review by Daniel Fisher, Senior Editor, Forbes, Feb. 17, 2011, click here.
 
     Further details about the book can be accessed via the following links:

http://www.cambridge.org/us/knowledge/isbn/item6025091/?site_locale=en_US

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/lawyer_barons/index.html
 
Papers presented
Prof. Brickman presented at a conference on Regulating and Deregulating Lawyers, held at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies in London on June 3-4, 2010.  He appeared on the panel:  Strategies for Reform I. The title of his paper is The Collaborative Effort of Judges and Rent-Seeking Lawyers in Expanding Tort Liability:  A Modest Proposal for Reform

Prof. Brickman presented at a conference on Aggregate Litigation:  Critical Perspectives, held at the George Washington University Law School on March 12, 2010.  He appeared on the panel: Ethics in Aggregate Litigation. The title of his paper is Anatomy of an Aggregate Settlement: The Triumph of Temptation Over Ethics.  The papers have been published in Volume 79, Issue 2 of the George Washington Law Review.

Letter to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Requesting an Opinion Declaring that the Practice of Plaintiffs' Counsels Negotiating Fees Directly with the Adversary To the Potential Detriment of the Client or Class is Unethical.

Invitation to Join As Signatory on Letter to ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility