A Lesson in Staying Focused – Alison Frankel’s Take on the Asbestos Bankruptcy Hearing
Advocates need to stay focused and credible. When that rule is ignored, the advocacy becomes useless, and sometimes even counter-productive.
A lesson on this rule arises from yesterday’s House committee hearing on secrecy in asbestos bankruptcies. Instead of staying with a focused, credible message solely about secrecy in the trusts, the hearing received a grand title focused on asbestos, jobs, and fraud. Jobs of course are the hot button political issue of the year. And, the insurance industry spends about 24/7 trying to say fraud as often as possible in the hope that someday it will convince the world that all litigation is fraud (except of course when the insurance industry is the plaintiff). So, the following grand title was applied to the hearing:
"Hearing on: How Fraud and Abuse in the Asbestos Compensation System Affect Victims, Jobs, the Economy, and the Legal System"
How well did the title play? Consider the reaction set out in this post by Alison Frankel, a book author and a smart, former senior editor and writer for American Lawyer. Ms. Frankel now writes "On the Case" and it’s quite good. As you will see on reading her post, she was amused – as opposed to impressed – by the grand title and scope of the hearing.