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The Rule of Lawyers How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America's Rule of Law

By Walter Olson
Truman Talley Books 2003 ISBN: 9780312280857

About the Book

A timely warning—today's class-action lawyers are fast carving out a new and dangerous role as an unelected fourth branch of government

Big-ticket litigation is a way of life in this country. But something new is afoot—something typified by the $246 billion tobacco settlement, and by courtroom assaults that have followed against industries ranging from HMOs to gunmakers, from lead-paint manufacturers to “factory farms.” Each massive class-action suit seeks to invent new law, to ban or tax or regulate something that elected lawmakers had chosen to leave alone. And each time the new process works as intended, the new litigation elite reaps billions in fees—which they invest in fresh rounds of suits, as well as political contributions.

The Rule of Lawyers asks: Who picks these lawyers, and who can fire them? Who protects the public's interest when settlements get negotiated behind closed doors? Where are our elected lawmakers in all this? The answers may determine whether we slip from the rule of law to the rule of lawyers.

About the Author

WALTER K. OLSON is the author of The Litigation Explosion and The Excuse Factory. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Olson has written on law and lawyers for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, City Journal, and others. He lives and works in Chappaqua, New York. He is also the founder and editor



Class actions with no class
Maine Bar Journal, Spring 2003

Sue the Bastards . . . Or Not
Dissent, Summer 2003

No Joke: Lawsuit Abuse Hurts Us All
Perspective, August 2003

Tort-reform advocate criticizes system
John Greiner, The Oklahoman, 8-21-03

A Dismal Day at the Beach
Barron’s Online, 7-7-03

Tipping the Scales
Philip K. Howard, LA Times, 6-29-03

The Lawyer’s Bookshelf
Peter H. Schuck, New York Law Journal, 6-13-03

Frivolous Lawsuits Creating New Power Class - Lawyers
David Isaac, Investor’s Business Daily, 6-13-03

Class Action
Barton Aronson, Commentary Magazine, June 2003

Gun Control: The Criminal Lobby
Paul Craig Roberts, Washington Times 4-26-03

The Rule of Lawyers
Robert Lenzner, Forbes, 4-21-03

The Rule of Lawyers
Sunni Maravillosa,

Drawing a bead on gun suits
Jacob Sullum, Washington times, 4-21-03

Shyster Heaven
Doug Bandow, National Review, 4-21-03

Standing on Dangerous Ground
Chuck Colson,, 4-16-03

New Push to Grant Gun Industry Immunity From Suits
John Tierney, New York Times, 4-4-03

Freedom Book of the Month, March 2003

Lawyers get rich; we get a warped idea of blame
Peter J. Pitts, Indianapolis Star, 3-15-03

The Courts
Jonathan Shapiro, Washington Post Book World, 3-9-03

He’s Taking On the ‘Tort Kings’
Lauren Mechling, New York Sun, 2-26-03

Lawyers Rule
Daniel J. Kornstein, New York Law Journal, 2-24-03

Our ill legal ways: Are we a nation of too much litigation and an overpowered Supreme Court?
Trevor Rosson, Special to the American-Statesman, 2-16-03

The Rule of Lawyers
Philip Y. Blue, Library Journal, 2-15-03

Legal Tyrannies
Duane Freese, Tech Central Station, 2-6-03

The Rule of Lawyers
Eric Shippers, Engage (date: TBA)

Something Worth Buying
Glenn Reynolds, MSNBC News, 1-24-03

In a Class by Themselves
David A. Price, Wall Street Journal, 1-21-03

Only in America
The, 1-20-03

Authors Throw the Book at Lawyers
Roger Parloff, The American Lawyer, 12-12-02


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