During the last election, regardless of where you lived I can guarantee you that if one of the candidates was a trial lawyer, took campaign contributions from trial lawyers, or had a neighbor that was a trial lawyer, this fact was used against them.
Look at this ad in the Georgia gubernatorial race:
Watching this attack ad, it made me realize that Mr. Barnes opponents didn’t try to make an actual argument, but simply tried to equating a vote for Roy Barnes was a vote for trial lawyers. But what does that even mean? Why does being a trial lawyer carry such a negative connotation in our society. Roy Barnes volunteered at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society for over six months as a full time volunteer, yet once identified as being a "trial lawyer", none of Mr. Barnes accomplishments mattered at that point. Mr. Barnes was not alone.
Sarah Steelman who ran for Governor in Missouri in 2008 faced the same type of attacks. In this attack ad, once again the opponents of Ms. Steelman simply tried to say Trial Lawyer and Sarah Steelman as many times as they could in a 30 second spot.
When watching these ads, I’m reminded of the movie "The American President". There is a scene towards the end of the movie where Michael Douglass says that one of his opponents wasn’t interested in solving problems, but was interested in doing two things (1) Making people afraid of something and (2) Telling people who is to blame for it. He goes on to state that this is how you win elections, not actually help people. Though this movie was produced in 1995, this scene was prophetic as to how campaigns are now waged in America and blaming Trial Lawyers for problems is easy because the "Trial Lawyer" is nameless and faceless, and can’t defend himself.
I’m proud to say that I’m a Trial Lawyer, and hopefully more and more Trial Lawyers will be proud to say so as well.