Harness The Many To Repair Debilitated State Court Systems

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - 01:00

You are familiar with the futility of being a voice crying in the wilderness - and, with the power of the many as contrasted with the weakness of the few. Martha Driver, our publisher, and I most enjoy the opportunities we have to demonstrate the power of this newspaper to harness the strength of the many in support of worthy causes of interest to corporate counsel .

DRI's campaign to assure adequate funding for our judicial branch is a case in point. The interviews and articles in this, and in our February issue, paint a picture of woeful neglect that challenges the legal profession, and particularly corporate counsel, to act now to avoid further deterioration - as states cut back already meager court system budgets reflecting falling tax revenues.

This is false economy - particularly at a time when every state competes to attract new businesses and retain old ones to offset the downdraft in housing and construction. Given the dark economic perspective, business needs to be relieved of unnecessary legal costs generated by underfunded court systems at a time when defense costs and the amounts of judgments and settlements for the Fortune 500 are estimated to average one-third of their after-tax profits.

On the cover of this issue, Chief Justice Elliott Maynard describes how a reinvigorated judicial branch in West Virginia has laid the groundwork for bringing prosperity to his state. Inside this issue we provide further evidence of the need to adequately fund our state judicial systems.

Your company can help. Large corporations have lobbyists in almost every state and smaller businesses are quite influential with their local legislators. And, your lawyers can help. In this issue, outside counsel describe the progress of a lawsuit, in which they represent judges' probono, seeking to remedy the callous disregard of the judicial branch by the two other branches in New York. You can encourage your outside counsel to channel some of their pro bono activities into representing underfunded state courts and underpaid judges in such challenges and generally supporting the efforts of DRI.

Your company's efforts taken alone, no matter how noble, will not count for much - but, you can through us harness the power of the many. We plan to run future special sections similar, to this month's and February's, to highlight the crisis in our state courts. Ask your law firms to support our efforts by considering us for their display advertising. Ask your company to lend support. Because we are dedicated to such issues, we are the ideal vehicle for display advertising describing your company's efforts in areas like better funding for courts, global warming and climate change, corporate social responsibility, diversity, better education and probono. Twenty-five thousand corporate counsel at 9,000 legal locations nationwide receive our newspaper. What better audience to inspire their own companies to emulate your company's good works? And, the dollars spent with us go directly into the support of this newspaper. Neither Martha, nor I, nor our children take anything out. Every cent is invested in improving and expanding its services to corporate counsel. Please contact Martha Driver at mdriver@metrocorpcounsel.com.

Al Driver

Editor