Courtroom attorneys from all over Iowa are gathered in Des Moines for their annual convention. Scott Brown, executive director of the Iowa Trial Lawyers Association, says the lawyer members who represent Iowa families, help them in court cases like when someone’s been hit by a drunk driver, or a doctor’s removed the wrong cancerous breast. Brown says Iowa’s attorneys were well aware that the the democratic vice-presidential candidate in this year’s race was a trial lawyer, and saw that used in campaign ads. Brown says in the state races, there were a number of advertisements attacking candidates who were trial lawyers…but he says in most hotly-contested races the candidates who ran anti-lawyer ads, seem to have lost. Brown says candidates who also happened to be lawyers picked up a couple of seats in the Iowa senate and house, so if anything the anti-lawyer advertisements may have backfired against the candidates who ran them. Brown says one of the biggest headaches for attorneys is the size of the public-relations machine mobilized by big businesses being challenged in court by consumers. The insurance industry, the tobacco industry, the medical industry — he says they all have greater resources than do the lawyers who represent ordinary Iowans in the courtroom, and they spend a lot of money trying to convince Iowans they ought to forgo their legal rights when they’ve been injured. Brown says that P-R power can influence the public’s opinion about consumer lawsuits, at least until people take a close look at “who’s representing their interests and who isn’t.” Is Iowa a good state for a lawyer to practice in? He says on average Iowa lawyers earn less than the national average, but like this state’s quality of life. The state requires trial lawyers to get fifteen hours of continuing education every year, and that’s part of the purpose for this week’s annual convention.
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