CJAC: Civil Justice Association of California

Jan 29, 2008

He saw it coming: Tom Campbell key player in Silicon Valley legal justice reform

SACRAMENTO — The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) today announced it is honoring Thomas J. Campbell for his persistent work to improve the nation’s civil justice system as the association commemorates the 20th anniversary of its merger with a historic Silicon Valley legal reform group.

Campbell, dean of the Haas School of Business at University of California at Berkeley, will be honored Thursday during a reception at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. He was among a small group of early high-tech and venture capital leaders in the Silicon Valley who formed a non-profit association to reform California’s legal system.

The California Legal Reform Institute’s work included proposals to encourage early and fair lawsuit settlements, end double recoveries of lawsuit damages, and bring common sense to product liability law.

In a spirit of coalition-building, the association in January 1988 merged with CJAC’s predecessor, the Association for California Tort Reform.

Members of the two associations were later united in a battle against infamous securities plaintiffs lawyer Bill Lerach, who financed a 1996 California ballot measure to undercut recently-enacted federal securities litigation reform. They were also major players in the campaign for Proposition 64, which reformed California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Campbell’s interest in improving the nation’s civil justice system has run throughout his career. He has published respected papers and law review articles on topics including the link between liability reforms and productivity, labor law and economics, employment discrimination law, and anti-trust litigation.

He served in the U.S. Congress, the California State Senate, and as Director of the California Department of Finance.

Today, the Board of the Civil Justice Association of California includes tech companies whose creativity, governance, and funding are linked to Campbell and other Silicon Valley legal reform pioneers.

To read CJAC President John H. Sullivan’s longer review of Silicon Valley’s role in legal reform and current litigation problems facing Califonria’s high tech community, go to http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2008/01/28/editorial4.html.

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