It's Not Your Father's ABA Any More
by Michael Fox
According to my membership card, I first joined the American Bar Association in 1976. I was a first year associate at one of the large firms in Houston. A lot has changed about the practice of law since then. And like every other facet of life, not only is more change ensured, but the pace of change seems almost certain to increase as well.
I know I would have been shocked if one of the articles in the ABA Journal of those early years, had been this one, Former SEC lawyer uses crowdfunding to bring whistleblower actions. First, neither me, nor I daresay anyone else, would have known what either crowdfunding or whistleblower meant.
For those who have checked in on this spot over the last decade, you know that one trend I noted early in the days of this blog and have been following is the possibility of a cause of action for bullying. I have gone from disbelief that it could ever happen, to now being resigned to the inevitability.
It is only at the inception, but another trend I have begun to notice is the one I wrote about just one month ago, A Ground Floor Opportunity? Litigation Finance. Ted Siedle, the ex-SEC lawyer featured in the above article is taking a slight variant of the same sort of approach. In his case, seeking public financing to fund investigations that could lead to SEC awards under its whistleblower program.
In the early years, an article in The Lawyer's Magazine, on raising money to initiate more litigation would more likely have talked about barratry, or some other pejorative term, rather than innovation.
But of course that was when lawyering was a profession, not a business.
Bob Dylan nailed it:
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
Keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
Don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they, they are a-changin'