We have to recognize that when the right wing says “tort reform,” what they really mean is destruction of the civil justice system. According to Professor George Lakoff the rest of society must respond to preserve the system.
Plaintiffs are and should be portrayed as courageous souls. After having suffered harm at the hands of the defendant, they must stand up to the rigors of the justice system, including intense cross-examination and personal attacks, and must display the great patience to withstand the delays of the process. They do it not just for themselves, but for the public as well.
Defense of the civil justice system is not just a trial lawyers’ issue. It is an issue for all progressives, just as “tort reform” is an issue for conservatives in general. The trial lawyers should not be standing alone here. They should be supported by the environmental community, the labor community, the anti-poverty community, and every other progressive in America. Trial lawyers are not just defending their clients; they are defending all of us by making the civil justice system possible.