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Lawyer Cartoon No Laughing Matter

Lawyers in Kentucky are not laughing over a cartoon published in the January issue of the Kentucky Bar Association's Bench & Bar magazine. The cartoon shows an unshaven, haggard-looking lawyer sitting on a sidewalk next to a sign that reads, "Will sue for food." A woman walking by remarks to her companion, "It's just the effects of tort reform, I suppose." At the blog KentuckyLegalEthics.com, Ben Cowgill describes the problem:

"The cartoon was brought to my attention by a Kentucky personal injury lawyer who found it to be offensive and insulting. He raised questions of balance, good taste and the KBA's role in promoting the image of the profession.

"It does seem surprising that the leadership of the Bar would permit a cartoon of that nature to be published on the pages of the state bar journal. After all, the cost of publishing Bench & Bar is borne by the entire membership of the Kentucky Bar, including personal injury attorneys."

The cartoon sends the public a false message about personal-injury lawyers, Cowgill says, and it tells PI lawyers that the state bar is an association that speaks for large-firm defense lawyers. When a cartoon raises legitimate questions of balance and good taste, it should not appear in the official publication of a mandatory state bar, he contends.

Cowgill finds an ally in Michael Stevens at the blog Kentucky Law Review. Stevens writes:

"Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my dues to the Kentucky Bar Association were being used, not only to heap insults on a significant segment of our membership -- those of us who represent the injured -- but also to take a pro-business position on tort reform to deprive the citizens in this Commonwealth of their constitutional right to a jury trial for their injury claims."

Stevens urges the state's lawyers to call or write the bar's board of governors.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 6, 2007 at 05:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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