ILR Exposes Michigan Trial Lawyers' Name Change as Part of Nationwide Effort to Hide Groups' Identity

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August 01, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) has launched a new public awareness campaign highlighting the recent name change by Michigan's trial lawyer organization and the motives behind the coordinated effort now happening in at least 11 states. The SameLeopardNewSpots.com Web site criticizes the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, which has voted to call itself the Michigan Association for Justice, for trying to conceal its identity from the public by changing its name.

"Michigan's trial lawyers have apparently signed onto a national campaign of concealment conducted by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, who renamed themselves the American Association for Justice last year," said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. "Because decades of abusing the civil justice system has driven their popularity into the ground, they are resorting to the oldest PR trick in the book: when your brand is tarnished, change your name."

To highlight the name change, ILR is running a public awareness campaign in Michigan, as well as in other states where the state trial lawyer associations have recently voted to change their names. As more states follow suit, ILR is expected to expand its public awareness campaign.

"We doubt the people of Michigan will be fooled by a misleading name change – a leopard with new spots is still a leopard, and trial lawyers' reputations will remain tarnished until they stop abusing the system," said Rickard.

The mission of the ILR 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.