Trial lawyers’ meeting is tinged with politics; Presidential hopefuls to make appearance

San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, July 21, 2003

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Almost 2,000 trial lawyers, many of them with phones glued to an ear, have converged on San Francisco this week to network, attend refresher courses and weigh in on next year's presidential election.

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America first arrived in town Saturday for its annual convention, a five-day crash course on how to beat big business.

Many attorneys said they were relieved that Senate Democrats had blocked a White-House backed bill earlier this month that would have limited damages awards in medical malpractice cases -- similar to a law on the books in California.

But one of the most popular attractions was "Bob." Bob actually is a dummy in a tie and dark gray pinstriped jacket. Pinned to the jacket is a name tag identifying dummy Bob as an insurance industry executive. Bob is on the display at the booth of the Center for Justice & Democracy, a consumer rights group in New York.

"Our concern is that the insurance industry is trying to take away the right of folks to bring a lawsuit when they're hurt," said Rebecca Hoffman, organizational director of the group.

She said that both children and adults -- including several lawyers -- had been taking out their aggressions on the industry by taking a swipe at Bob.
Despite punches to the face and gut, she said, Bob "is holding up pretty well."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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