I woke up Monday morning to a huge crash—actually, a series of crashes—only to find out that my neighbor’s very large, very old redbud tree had fallen over onto her house and car! What a bad start to the week for Mrs. Pilcher, who’s a real sweetheart and helpful neighbor. After checking on her to make sure that she was okay, it was off to Pilates with the torture mistress Claudia (who actually gives a very good workout, but it’s fun to tease her).That afternoon the law school community was pleased to host Brian Wolfman, the Director of Litigawolfmantion for the group Public Citizens. The courtroom was packed. A number of members of the legal community joined us for his talk. We were pleased that Conrad Odom, Jason Hatfield, and Paul Bird could join us. Director Wolfman spoke about the work of Public Citizen’s litigation group as well as a number of the cases the group has argued before the Supreme Court. He discussed the idea of the “cost of litigation,” and pointed out that most people think narrowly about litigation costs. But, he suggested that if the corporate malfeaser doesn’t pay for the harm caused, then there is still an additional cost—the cost that the individual bears in terms of the injuries suffered. Wolfaman encouraged us to think about “cost” more wholistically. He stressed the point that the issue isn’t if there is a cost, it’s who will really pay that cost, the wrongdoer or the injured plaintiff.

Attorney Wolfman also gave an overview about the other work of the litigation group. The attorneys in the group testify before congress and administrative agencies, and take cases involving open government issues, challenges to regulation, consumer justice, first amendment law and internet free speech (he gave an example of fighting for an individual’s right to post anonymously in internet chat rooms). The group brings a number of class action suits and has extensive experience arguing before the United States Supreme Court, litigating 55 cases since 1972. Public Citizen has also created a Supreme Court assistance project that will conduct mock arguments for attorneys who have trials in the Supreme Court, provide help with Supreme Court briefs, and help attorneys litigating cases who wish to avoid having their cases heard by the Supreme Court.

Check out Brian Wolfman’s news article on the School of Law website.