A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about the spread of litigation funding to divorce cases.
Jordan Furlong has written a very interesting post on litigation funding and, in doing so, raises some real concerns about the future of the legal profession. An excerpt:
The fact that third-party litigation funding is flourishing, bumping up against the basic principles of the justice system, should be a grave embarrassment to the legal profession. These companies are emerging because the price of bringing a problem to and through the court system for a solution exceeds what 80% of the population can afford, and 80% of the reason those costs are so high is because of us: not just the fees we charge for our work, but also the labyrinthine, process-drenched, time-devouring system of justice we’ve created and currently oversee. The justice system works for judges and lawyers, because we made it and we run it and we work in it every day; it demonstrably does not work for anyone else.
Here is the concluding paragraph:
Third-party litigation funding is, at best, a very flawed solution to the problem of access to justice. Aside from its philosophical drawbacks, it’s solving the wrong problem: it assumes that the best way to beat the system is to even the odds, to give everyone enough money to duke it out with expensive lawyers in front of expensive judges in expensive courts. That is not the way to fix the problem. The way to fix the problem is to make the system less bloody expensive in the first place. And if lawyers can’t figure out how to do that, and soon, then I submit that third-party litigation funders will be the least of our concerns.
All of this causes me to think about the flaws in our civil justice system in Tennessee, not the least of which is permitting a defendant in a medical malpractice case to call multiple witnesses to say the same thing about a standard of care or causation issue. I am not sure that I agree that our system is as flawed as Jordan suggests, but there is no doubt that substantial improvements need to be made to reduce the cost of (and therefore increase access to) the civil justice system.