I’ll write more about this in coming days but I wanted to link to this “Fact Book” published by The University of Wisconsin Law School.
Below is the “Foreword” from the Fact Book:
Our civil justice system has always been a matter of intense public interest, from television drama to newspaper editorial pages. To some, trial lawyers are the champions of the underprivileged and downtrodden; to others, they are a threat to the state’s business climate. All too often, these impressions are shaped by the attention paid to a single sensational case, severed from the context of the hundreds or thousands of other disputes that people regularly look to our court system to resolve. In the interest of shifting the focus to that broader context, two of our faculty members volunteered to gather the data and provide the commentary that forms this booklet. Their goal was to provide an objective picture of the civil justice system in Wisconsin, focusing on the basic facts about the state’s civil courts and the litigation in them and comparing it with the situation in neighboring states. The authors need little introduction to those familiar with civil litigation and the court system. Marc Galanter is the John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law Emeritus, and an internationally recognized expert on trends in civil litigation. Susan Steingass recently retired from her position as the Director of the Law School’s Communication and Advocacy Program. She brings to the project her substantial experience as a former trial judge, state bar president, and litigator with a long career of representing both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation. Some readers may well be surprised by some of the statistics that follow. Other readers with a particular stake in the civil justice debate may wonder if this project is an effort to advocate for one position over another. I can assure you that this is neither the project’s intent nor, in my opinion, its effect. Open debate on issues of consequence to our state and nation is one of the hallmarks of our Law School’s educational tradition. This booklet reminds us that collecting the best available information provides a platform for such a debate and leads to the process of finding the best possible solutions to the issues. On behalf of the Law School, I wish to acknowledge and thank the authors and the law students who worked with them for their important contribution to the ongoing discussion of the civil justice system.
Kenneth B. Davis, Jr.
Fred W. & Vi Miller Deanship
University of Wisconsin Law School
You can order the Civil Justice in Wisconsin book at the UW Law School’s website. It is a good read and I’ll have comments in the coming days.