Wootton to Relinquish Administrative Duties with Institute for Legal Reform

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October 27, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC - The United States Chamber of Commerce has announced that James Wootton, a national leader in the fight for legal reform, will relinquish his administrative duties with the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform effective December 1.

"Jim Wootton has led the Chamber's fight against the trial lawyers' ongoing attempts to litigate their way to greater wealth at the expense of American businesses," said Thomas Donohue, Chamber President and CEO, who selected Wootton to head the Institute for Legal Reform in November 1999. "His efforts have significantly advanced legal reform in this country."

Wootton has accepted an offer to become a partner in the international law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, where he will work on public-policy issues, including legal reform. Wootton will remain as president of the Institute, providing strategic direction and vision to the organization.

"Under Tom Donohue's leadership, and with the support of our members, the Chamber has been able to make great strides toward a fairer civil justice system," said Wootton. "That effort is not finished, though, and I look forward to continuing to work with Tom and the Chamber to make lasting and meaningful legal reform a reality."

Formerly executive director of the Institute, Wootton led the Chamber's negotiations on the Y2K Act of 1999 and has spearheaded the Chamber's legislative efforts for litigation fairness on Capitol Hill. Wootton's legal reform accomplishments date back more than 20 years to his tenure as a Reagan Justice Department official and his successful efforts to reform the Legal Services Corporation and to make truth-in-sentencing the accepted standard when punishing violent criminals.

Wootton combines political know-how and public advocacy. He has played a significant role in a number of crime-related advocacy efforts, including the Safe Streets Alliance, a public charity dedicated to education about crime and youth leadership, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at the Justice Department, and the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime at the FBI Academy.

Founded in 1998, ILR works to make significant changes in the civil justice system at the federal and state levels to reduce frivolous, wasteful and excessive litigation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.