Hawaii lawyer getaway sign of litigious times

Freedom Newspapers

A wire story out of Hawaii last week had all the makings of a good lawyer joke come to life.

“The nation’s lawyers are coming to Hawaii,” reported The Associated Press, for an annual meeting of the American Bar Association, “and some of them apparently have no fear of sharks — unless they’re the kind that file lawsuits.”

About 40 conference attendees signed up to participate in a “Lawyers on Longboards Surfing Contest” according to the story.

The ABA refused to officially sponsor the event, fearing it might be sued if someone were hurt. When the ABA balked, the State Bar Association of Hawaii volunteered to host instead. But participants must still sign liability waivers, just in case.

“It’s really funny — the ABA won’t officially sponsor (the contest) for liability reasons,” an environmental lawyer and surfer told AP. But we’re not cracking up, dude.

It’s not funny, but sad, really, the way every facet of American life has been impacted by the litigation explosion. The threat of being sued not only adds enormously to the costs of doing business (or virtually anything else) in the United States, but it’s taking a lot of the fun out of life as well.

And perhaps the incident provides an object lesson for lawyers about the chilling effect their insatiable pursuit of plaintiffs is having on the American way of life.

Event organizers needn’t worry, though, at least about the risk of shark attack. Sharks never go after lawyers, as the old joke goes — as a matter of professional courtesy.

Wait … don’t sue us: We’re just kidding.