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The US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is an interest group founded in 1998 by the United States Chamber of Commerce, with a focus on legal reform.

ILR Goals

According to its website, "ILR aims to:
  • Neutralize plaintiff trial lawyers' excessive influence over the legal and political systems.
  • Ensure enactment of common sense legal reform and related legislation.
  • Create and maintain public support for legal reform, including building alliances with groups and organizations to advance the legal reform agenda.
  • Reform the class action system to make it simpler, fairer and faster.
  • Enact common sense reforms to ensure fairness in liability suits.
  • Ensure damage awards are fair and equitable.
  • Eliminate frivolous lawsuits.
  • Enforce legal ethics rules."


Stances on Issues

ILR takes a pro-defendant stance, condemning the influence that plaintiff trial lawyers have in expanding common law through tort and securities litigation. Accordingly, ILR promotes arbitration over litigation, increased attorney-client privilege, reduced discovery, and statutory caps on damage awards.

ILR is funded by the United States Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization, which represents millions of businesses and industry associations. The United States Chamber of Commerce's official positions on a variety of issues, from drilling in ANWRmarker to union rights, align with the official positions of the Republican Party. These positions often place the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in direct opposition to Democratic candidates. Through ILR, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched multiple lobbying efforts against the Democratic Party's traditional political base, including unions and trial lawyers.

Criticisms

Critics of ILR and other tort reform organizations argue that the organizations limit the access of ordinary citizens to be compensated for harms done to them by corporations through faulty products and/or harmful services. Critics argue that such interest groups do not promote judicial efficiency, legal ethics, or any other public purpose, but merely protect corporations from the consequences of their misdeeds.

References

  1. ILR website, About ILR. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  2. OpenSecrets.org, Lobbying Spending Database. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  3. ILR website, About ILR. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  4. ILR website, Issue Resource Center. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  5. U.S. Chamber of Commerce website. Energy and the Environment. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  6. U.S. Chamber of Commerce website. Labor Policies. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  7. 2008 Republican Party Platform. "Growing Our Energy Supply". Retrieved May 11, 2009
  8. 2008 Republican Party Platform. "Protecting Union Workers". Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  9. Mollins, Brody & Davis, Susan. "Chamber of Commerce Irks Democrats With Big Push For GOP", Wall Street Journal Online. October 24, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  10. Hamburger, Tom. "Chamber of Commerce vows to punish anti-business candidates", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  11. Smith, Ben. "Union Bill creates jobs-for GOP ops", www.politico.com. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  12. Garland, Susan. "Chamber of Commerce Battle Cry: Kill All the Lawyers", Business Week Online. March 2, 1998. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  13. Murray, Shailagh. "Conservative Appeal Trial-Lawyers Lobby Discovers". Wall Street Journal. July 8, 2004. Retrieved from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, May 11, 2009.
  14. Holzer, Jessica. "Chamber launches effort against trial lawyers", TheHill.com. July 28, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  15. Cohen, Andrew.: "Made in America: Corporate Gall", CBSnews.com. Retrieved May 8, 2009.



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