Legal Reform

A growing economy brings much-needed jobs and wage growth, but it also provides opportunity for entrepreneurial trial lawyers to exploit flaws in America’s lawsuit system for their own gain. 

The U.S. Chamber and its Institute for Legal Reform believe that the key to correcting those flaws and paving the way to a freer, fairer economy lies in repairing our broken class action lawsuit system, eliminating the fraud that permeates asbestos litigation, and curbing the rising trend of over-enforcement—particularly from certain state attorneys general, who are too often engaging in inconsistent, duplicative, and politically motivated enforcement actions.

Projects and Programs


Priorities for 2018

  • Continue to implement a comprehensive campaign on the issue of over-enforcement, with a focus on raising awareness around over-reaching, duplicative, and costly enforcement actions from state attorneys general (AGs), as well as at the federal level.
  • Advocate for reforms to practices by state attorneys general, including procedures limiting the retention of outside contingency fee counsel and ensuring that lawsuits as well as any settlement funds, fines, and penalties are directed toward actual consumer relief, rather than pure shakedowns designed to fund specific AG projects or AG office budgets.
  • Curb asbestos litigation abuses by continuing to expose fraud and abuse by the plaintiffs’ bar, and work to reform and limit abuses associated with Section 524(g) asbestos bankruptcy trusts.
  • Work to pass in the Senate:
    • The Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act (FICALA); and
    • The Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act
  • Prevent or limit efforts to expand liability under the federal False Claims Act.
  • Fight to preserve the availability of arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • Strive to enact legal reforms at the state level, particularly in West Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.
  • Engage with the EU and member countries to curb the export of U.S.-style class action litigation.

Recent Activity

ReportSep 13, 2017 - 11:15am

The 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States

The 2017 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform by Harris Poll to explore how fair and reasonable the states’ liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. businesses.

ReportMay 26, 2016 - 3:15pm
Enforcement Gone Amok Report Cover

Enforcement Gone Amok: The Many Faces of Over-Enforcement in the United States

American society benefits when the legal system is used as intended by our Founders—to prosecute and punish genuine wrongdoers whose actions have violated the law and caused injury or damage, guided by due process and the Eighth Amendment principle that the punishment should fit the crime.

ReportSep 30, 2015 - 2:00pm

The Trial Lawyer Underground: Covertly Lobbying the Executive Branch

As opportunities for advancing their liability-expanding agenda in Congress have dimmed, plaintiffs’-lawyer lobbyists have focused their influence on the Executive Branch, starting with the current Administration. Very quietly, but rather successfully, the lawsuit industry has pursued its policy goals through federal agencies while attracting very little attention. We call this effort the Trial Lawyer Underground. The purpose of this report is to shine a public light on a hidden practice that affects all Americans.

ReportOct 26, 2010 - 8:00pm

Cy Pres: A Not So Charitable Contribution to Class Action Practice

October 27, 2010SUMMARYCy pres awards in class actions engender a multitude of ethical and conflict of interest problems for judges, defendants, plaintiffs and absent class members. Use of the cy pres doctrine in litigation also raises questions about whether courts should be making charitable contribution designations.

ReportJul 07, 2010 - 8:00pm

Tort Liability Costs for Small Business