Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Ah, well, in the world of plaintiffs' lawyers, apparently a good group name is hard to find. Last year, the American Trial Lawyer's Association did indeed change its name to the American Association for Justice. Around the same time, a group of plaintiffs' lawyers decided to form a competing organization and opted for the name "The American Trial Lawyers Association," or "TheATLA." (Be sure to capitalize the "The" so you can tell the difference...)
"The name defines who we are and what we do," said J. Keith Givens, TheATLA's main founder and a senior partner in the national law firm founded by the late Johnnie Cochran, of O.J. Simpson fame. Givens, a well-known Alabama plaintiff's lawyer, asserted that AAJ abandoned the name ATLA last year, freeing up its use. Besides, he said, his group is TheATLA, which is different.
AAJ disagrees. Two weeks ago, it filed suit in federal court in Minneapolis to force TheATLA to drop the name, contending it was confusing AAJ members and infringing a trademark AAJ has held since 1976 on the acronym ATLA. In typical trial lawyer fashion, the suit also demands that AAJ get any profits that TheATLA collects, as well as damages, "trebled where permissible," and attorneys' fees.