Change is a constant in asbestos litigation. One new change for 2015 is four prominent plaintiff firms banding together for the the online marketing of mesothelioma claims. And, their web site includes a pledge to invest in mesothelioma research an unstated percentage of future legal fees earned. Of course, it would be interesting to know all the thinking and deals behind the cooperative marketing arrangement, but ….
The firms? Some well known names. They are the Cooney & Conway firm based in Chicago, the Kazan McClain firm based in Oakland, the Nemeroff firm with roots in Texas and New York and the Levy Konigsberg firm based in New York.
Also notable is the name adopted for the marketing effort: “Meso Lawyers Care,” located at http://www.mesolawyerscare.org/.
The website for the group includes a page that highlights a collective $10 million of past contributions to mesothelioma research. There’s nothing much known to me about the prior mesothelioma research investments efforts of two of the firms. But, I have seen mentions of the Kazan McLain firm providing some grants to the iMig medical group for its biannual meeting of some of the world’s best mesothelioma researchers and treating doctors. Also, the Kazan McClain firm has a web page that reports aggregate mesothelioma research payments of over $ 6 million, and an aggregate total of over $20 million in all charitable gifts. As to Cooney & Conway, there are some more detailed public facts about at least some of the money Cooney & Conway has invested in research regarding mesothelioma. For example, in 2012, the national insulators union issued a July 25, 2015 press release shortly after “declaring war on mesothelioma” at an annual meeting. Tucked away in the press release were the following two lines, for which the lawyers and law firms deserve kudos:
“Terry Johnson, Esq., along with two attorneys from the national asbestos firm of Cooney and Conway (John Cooney and Kevin Conway), announced a multi-million donation to the Insulators Tissue Bank. The firms will contribute current legal fees totaling one million dollars, and add to that two-percent of all future collected legal fees involving cases where workers suffer from mesothelioma and related asbestos-causing diseases.”
A web page at Meso Lawyers Care is tabbed as “Giving Back,” and includes the following statement and pledge:
“Like experience, success and expertise, giving back is an ever present and growing part of what we all do and will continue to do as MLC grows.
We have in the past all given to a wide range of medical facilities and support organizations throughout the country and combined, have donated in excess of $10 million.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer and as such research has long been underfunded and overlooked by government and organizations.
We will continue giving back to organizations involved in medical research and patient care throughout the United States to do what we can to help.
We will do this primarily by pledging a percentage of legal fees recovered solely for donations to these worthy organizations.”
Some say investing money and time research against cancer is the nation’s best investment. Whether it’s the best of course is beside the point; what does matter is that is a good investment in hope, and that’s especially now that the pace of discovery is rapidly accelerating because of the ongoing revolution in molecular biology.
Of course, some will seek to diminish the giving by pointing out the fact of these lawyers and firms making plenty of money from the awful diseases we call mesothelioma. That’s of course true. But it’s also true that plenty of defense firms and lawyers have become wealthy from asbestos litigation. So, these lawyers who actually are investing in mesothelioma research deserve recognition and credit because in fact they are giving something back. In contrast, plenty of other people and firms give nothing back. The latter outcome needs to change.