November 2002 archives, parts 2 & 3


November 11-December 12 – Month-long hiatus/editor’s forthcoming book. Overlawyered.com will be on hiatus for about a month to allow our editor to attend to some personal business that requires his full attention. There are a lot of great items in our pipeline, but they’ll have to wait. We’ll probably have some access to email, though.

In the mean time, we’re very happy to announce that our editor’s third, newest book, The Rule of Lawyers: How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America’s Rule of Law, The Rule of Lawyersis not only completed but at the printers (St. Martin’s Press) It’s due out in January, just in time for what is widely expected to shape up as a big debate over civil justice reform in the new (and relatively reform-friendly) U.S. Congress. Its subject is the rise of mass litigation, from asbestos and silicone breast implants to the tobacco and gun crusades. It’s got chapters on how the litigation industry successfully manipulates juries, the political process and the press, and it concludes with what we think are some new reform ideas. Although many of the book’s themes will be familiar to our readers, most of the material in the book has never appeared on this site.

Okay, here’s the sales pitch: even though the book won’t appear in stores for a few more weeks, you can pre-order it now at (as of this writing) a handsome 30% discount. Placing a pre-order not only gets you a copy of the book in extra-timely fashion, but also helps stir up interest, alerting the publisher and the wider bookselling community to the presence of reader demand. If you buy through our online Amazon bookstore, a portion of your purchase price will also go to support the work of Overlawyered.com. Editors interested in excerpting chapters or assigning the book for review, incidentally, should contact St. Martin’s Press directly at (212) 674-5151 and ask for Joe Rinaldi of the Promotion Department. The book also has its own fledgling website.

How timely is our subject? In her new book The Case Against Lawyers (see our Oct. 3 commentary), TV host Catherine Crier not only pulls together countless funny/outrageous case stories from the legal system, but concludes with a ringing call for reforms that include loser-pays and restrictions on lawyers’ contingency fees. Crier generously credits this site and its editor as a major source of material, observing in an “Author’s Note”: “The Internet is a truly extraordinary tool. One particular site has proved absolutely invaluable (and infuriating): Walter Olson’s overlawyered.com is the definitive source for daily updates on the struggle against legal insanity.” We’re delighted to see that The Case Against Lawyers has just made this week’s New York Times best-seller list, and we encourage you to buy it as well as buying The Rule of Lawyers.

Finally, this would make a good time to join our mailing list, since we’ll be sending out an email to list members alerting them when the site resumes regular posting in mid-December. List members receive updates, typically every couple of weeks, which contain snappy summaries of what’s new on the site.

See you sometime in mid-December, by which time we hope our personal business will have been brought to a happy conclusion. Fly swiftly round, ye wheels of time, and bring the promised day!

P.S. Our readers are great. The Amazon sales ranking for The Rule of Lawyers started at #1,483,699 at 7 a.m. on Nov. 11, when the above was posted. By 11:30 a.m. it had climbed to #2,356 and by 9 p.m. to #979. (DURABLE LINK)

November 11-12 –Oops. In our Oct. 30-31 item on traffic counts for this site, our unfamiliarity with our new statistics program led us to overcount pages served by about 20 percent. See update to earlier post. Sorry! (DURABLE LINK)