In the middle of the second scene of the fourth act of the second part of Shakespeare’s “King Henry the Sixth”, at Blackheath, Dick says to Cade “The first thing we’ll do, let’s kill all the lawyers”.
Frank Lasee, the dweeb politician from Green Bay who obviously hates Wisconsin, and actually graduated from UW-GB, went biblical on Shakespeare when, a couple years ago, he called lawyers a “plague of locusts” and demanded that the legislature cut off funding for the UW Law School.
He may have just been on the take from the Jesuits (Marquette has the only other Law School in
Wisconsin), or, more likely, he was just putting his foot into his mouth again. This is the fellow who said teachers in our state should carry firearms to keep order.
Lasee said we don’t need any more ambulance chasers and divorce attorneys - the kind of populist pronunciamentos that must play well up there in Packer-land. But a recent report from a couple of high-profile Wisconsin lawyers…..UW law professor emeritus Marc Galanter and former judge and state bar president Susan Steingass…says the Badger state has not been overrun by trial lawyers.
The report shows there are actually fewer trial lawyers per person in Wisconsin than in most states. We have one for about every 400 ‘sconnies, while the national average is one for every 264 people.
As to the implication by Lasee (and the constant drumbeat from the WMC dweebs over on East Wash) that Wisconsin is driving away business because we’re a haven for tort filings and civil lawsuits - not so much, according to the report. We have had a spike in civil filings, but over 60 percent of the increase has been from small claims court - suits to collect debts - and a nearly five-fold increase in mortgage foreclosures. Tort filings are actually down by nearly 25 percent.
But you say “aha - what about the huge increase in medical malpractice claims in Wisconsin? It’s driving doctors out of the state!!!”. Again…not so much. The report shows malpractice claims in Wisconsin down by 34% in the past couple years, and the number of doctors in the state has increased. We’re 14th in the nation in medical malpractice filings, and both Iowa and Michigan had filing rates more than double ours.
Perhaps we need higher quality of performance from the politicians in our state….rather than fewer lawyers.