Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Birmingham Business Journal

From: RDShatt@aol.com
To: acole@bizjournals.com
CC: jwelker@bizjournals.com, ccrawford@bizjournals.com, constitutentaffairs@ago.state.al.us, jlcarrol@samford.edu, krandall@law.ua.edu, dnabers@samford.edu, tim.mazur@theecoa.org, pat@ethics.org, roy.snell@corporatecompliance.org
Sent: 3/4/2014 6:57:55 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: "Experts say more law firm shakeups to come"

Dear Ms. Cole,

Your above news article appearing on page 4 of the February 21, 2014 issue of the Birmingham Business Journal has "offshoots" and "inputs" regarding things going on, which I would like to discuss for your information.

Obviously, as your article suggests, the legal profession is under pressures from an economy struggling to recover from the financial crisis. Professor Strickland refers to "less legal work to go around.." Recent law school graduates are having a tough time in the job market.

Lawyers are hardly the only workers struggling in the United States economy. Millions of Americans are up against the effects of "globalism" playing out in the economy, including job creation and wage levels. Changes in the health care field are causing many doctors to leave their profession early, notwithstanding projected future shortages.

When significant economic dislocations are happening, those who are in good positions under the status quo work to shore themselves up and resist changes that may adversely affect their good positions.

This is going on in the legal field.

An area of law practice I have been interested in as a commentator and critic for more than a decade is that of plaintiffs' lawyers.

That group seems to have well fortified itself, and it seems there is no stopping them.

If that sounds as if I am anti-plaintiffs' lawyers, I am, and I have had a blog called How To Combat Plaintiffs' Lawyers to show for it.

My involvement with the subject has led me down a path for several years in which I have been arguing that plaintiffs' lawyers undermine business ethics and are counterproductive to lessening corporate wrongdoing.

If that sounds as if it cannot be right, and you want to understand why I am saying it, you may start by reading my article Does the Civil Liability System Underrmine Business Ethics?

But I don't what to bog you down, so let me connect up with the aforesaid "offshoots" and "inputs" regarding things that are going on.

I have initiated a proposal that state attorneys general offices should expand and hire more lawyers on a salaried basis to take over legal work being done by plaintiffs' lawyers. The basis for this proposal is that I think society's interest in curbing corporate wrongdoing would be better served if my proposal was followed. I have been making this proposal to the Alabama Attorney General's office for a couple of years. You can see this here.

Notwithstanding numerous communications by me to the Alabama Attorney General's office, I have not received any response from his office about my idea.

An object of the proposal would be to switch excessive riches going into the pockets of a small number of plaintiffs' lawyers, to instead being used by state attorneys general offices to hire and pay salaries to a much larger number of lawyers to carry out society's mission of trying to lessen corporate wrongdoing.

Law schools are struggling, as well as their recent graduates. Law schools should be receptive to ideas that could both employ more of their recent graduates, and also better serve societal interests in lessening corporate wrongdoing. I have written to the dean of the Cumberland Law School (who is quoted in your article) and the dean of the University of Alabama law school (see these emals), but I have not received a response.

The path I have gone down has included trying to enlist the aid of corporate ethics and compliance officers to exert themselves regarding my contentions, but this has had little avail.

Locally, I sent an email to Tthe Honorable Drayton Nabers, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, who is the newly appointed Director of the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics at Samford University. I asked Justice Nabers how I could more effectively promote my advocacy in Alabama. I haven't received a response.

I can appreciate that my above idea is long range. It entails persuading legislative bodies and judges about my contentions that plaintiffs' lawyers undermine business ethics and are counterproductive to society's mission of lessening corporate wrongdoing, and that legal work of plaintiffs' lawyers should be shifted to salaried lawyers at state attorneys general offices (and the offices of other regulators and prosecutors). Such persuading would need advocates, such as corporate ethics and compliance officers. If persuaded, legislative bodies and judges would then need to act in ways that would work towards effectuating the idea.

Given how daunting the foregoing is, I can understand the lack of response I have encountered, including locally the lack of response from the Alabama Attorney General, the deans of the Cumberland and University of Alabama law schools, and former Chief Justice Nabers.

I doubt that the Birmingham Business Journal can make much of this as a news story, but I don't see any harm in sending you this email, with copies to parties who should be active on this, in order to keep this matter in front of those parties.

By the way, have you noticed an increased number of TV ads soliciting medical patients in umpteen different categories of bad drug reactions and medical treatments and procedures that had adverse ramifications? That's the plaintiffs' lawyers hard at work to shore up their privileged position in the status quo. I have leveled my critique at this as strenuously as I can. When the Alabama Attorney General, and the Alabama legislature, and law schools, and corporate ethics and compliance officers will delve more vigorously into what is going on related to society's effort to lessen corporate wrongdoing (and compensate victims) is something they will face up to when and as they decide to do so.

Thank you very much if you got through this overly long email.

Rob Shattuck
3812 Spring Valley Circle
Mountain Brook, AL 35223
(205) 967-5586

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Another appeal to State Attorneys General

From: RDShatt@aol.com
To: jmcpherson@naag.org
CC: constitutentaffairs@ago.state.al.us, KDarcy@theecoa.org, pat@ethics.org, roy.snell@corporatecompliance.org, inboardroom@nacdonline.org, fja@federaljudgesassoc.org, peter.koelling@americanbar.org, aja@ncsc.dni.us, feedback@naag.org
Sent: 1/19/2014 9:27:00 A.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: Another appeal to State Attorneys General

Dear Honorable State Attorneys General (c/o Mr. Jim McPherson, NAAG Executive Director)

I am sending this email in a continuation of my efforts to influence those who play significant roles in society's efforts to lessen corporate wrongdoing. Those who are copied on this email include the Alabama Attorney General's office, the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association, the Ethics Resource Center, the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, and the National Association of Corporate Directors (which is conducting this Leading The Way national initiative to restore public and investor confidence).

From my perspective, notwithstanding that there is a common goal to lessen corporate wrongdoing, it appears there is a lot of stovepiping that goes on and a slowness to consolidate a moral force.

As an example, the corporate ethics and compliance community has been importuning Federal regulators in a way that I believe is narrowly focused on pet ideas of the former. For elaboration of this, see this entry in my blog.

The corporate ethics and compliance community could make a similar importuning of State Attorneys General. Perhaps that has happened. I think it would be instructive to my point if State Attorneys General considered what they would think about such an importuning by the corporate ethics and compliance community.

Last November I contacted the National Association of Corporate Directors, related to their Leading The Way initiative, and tried to point out the foregoing believed deficiency in how the ethics and compliance community was carrying out its mission. This was intended, among other things, to instigate interchange between the National Association of Corporate Directors and the corporate ethics and compliance community (which serves under corporate directors). I am not aware that any interchange has taken place.

State attorneys general have their own limitations in consolidating a moral force. These include the ongoing turf battle that state attorneys general have with the Federal enforcement and regulatory community, and also the political needs of state attorneys general to have big, publicized cases against corporations (which I contend do not have the best effect for deterring corporate wrongdoing).

Judges are hard to communicate with about lessening corporate wrongdoing, but I try. See, e.g., blog entries that are collected here and efforts I have made to intervene in legal cases such as two large class actions cases against Citigroup and Bank of America a year ago (relevant blog entries collected here).

If all else fails, it is up to Congress and state legislatures to address how society should best try to deter corporate wrongdoing.

I am a mere citizen in trying to persuade those parties with the power and position to respond to my contentions, and I have only my blog and email for doing this. I hope I will be successful eventually.

Thank you.

Robert Shattuck
Birmingham, AL