Lawyers On Trial: Juror Hostility To Defendants In Legal Malpractice Trials

 In Articles, Symposium

An enduring question in the study of civil justice is whether certain types of parties are advantaged or disadvantaged as litigants. Professor Marc Galanter’s classic essay, Why the “Haves” Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change, raises this question in terms of resources and experience and has been the subject of extensive testing. Other research has examined whether certain demographic factors, such as race or gender, disadvantage plaintiffs, whether pocket corporate defendants are disfavored by juries. In this Article, we examine a group one might expect to come to court as advantaged players—lawyers.

Society has long had a love-hate relationship with the legal profession. Public opinion polls typically show that lawyers are held in low esteem, usually being described as untrustworthy, manipulative, and overly concerned about their own financial advantage. As Galanter has reported, these views of lawyers are reflected in the large corpus of jokes told about lawyers.

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