In the presidential election just concluded, the candidates not only both shared a background in politics but also as lawyers. President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney both have legal degrees. President Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, and was Editor of the Law Review. Following law school, he worked at a private law firm handling civil rights litigation cases. He also lectured in the area of constitutional law. Following a brief legal career, he went into politics which included working as a community organizer, a stint in the Illinois legislature, followed by his election as a United States Senator.
Governor Romney also graduated from Harvard Law School but spent an extra year obtaining a combined legal and business degree. It appears that Governor Romney never worked a day as a lawyer but went right into the business world.
President Obama & Tort Reform
While both candidates are lawyers, they have different views on the issue of tort reform. President Obama believes that the tort system (personal injury law), should be left up to the individual states and that there should be no Federal laws regarding caps on jury awards. Governor Romney’s position is that capping jury awards is so important an issue that it should not be left up to the states. This seems to be hypocritical in that he believes most issues should be left to the states and not the Federal government. Governor Romney believes that there should be caps on not only medical malpractice jury awards but also automobile and other personal injury cases. Perhaps Governor Romney’s involvement with big business and campaign contributions from drug, oil and insurance companies have something to do with his determination to restructure the court system regarding tort cases.
Governor Romney proposed no such caps on damage awards when one corporation is damaged by another corporation.
United States Presidents Who Were Lawyers
Even though 25 of our 44 Presidents have been lawyers, most were not career lawyers at the time they became President. There were exceptions and three of our Presidents were recognized as some of the best trial lawyers of their time including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
I am amazed when I hear people criticize lawyers who are involved in politics. They state that lawyers are disruptive to the legislative process and should not be involved in writing our states and country’s laws. These same people probably never knew that Adams, Jefferson and Lincoln were practicing trial lawyers.