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Speech By Atla's Past President Mary Alexander: Fighting The "Frivolous" Trial


 
The Washington Times
11/16/2004

San Francisco lawyer Mary E. Alexander is past president of the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), and is the organization's political action chairwoman. The following are excerpts of Ms. Alexander's speech to the Consumer Attorneys of California's annual convention in San Francisco, where she accepted that organization's Edward I. Pollock Award...."In speech after speech, political leaders spoke of 'frivolous' lawsuits and the need for caps on damages....My colleagues, speaking in defense of lawyers and lawsuits, I ask you, has it been frivolous to hold tobacco accountable for its years of lies and cover-ups? To challenge faulty tires that killed people? To gain justice for victims of pedophiles in the clergy? To help workers who lose corporate pensions like Enron's? To aid the victims of years of secret toxic and nuclear waste dumping? To help a woman who loses both her breasts because of a mismatched patient's diagnosis?...One of the proudest moments of my national work is what we did immediately following 9/11. ATLA's Trial Lawyers Care, more than 1100 trial lawyers, including many of you, provided free help as volunteers to the September 11th victims and their families. We represented over half of the 2,900 victims' families from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. This was the largest pro-bono legal effort in U.S. history. We encouraged and assisted families to apply to the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund - which we helped create and pass in Congress - rather than sue."