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The Rule of Lawyers
How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America’s Rule of Law

"Perhaps America's leading authority on over-litigation". That's what Investor's Business Daily has called Walter Olson, whose books and writings have helped set the terms of debate about the excesses of the nation's civil justice system. Olson's book The Litigation Explosion was reviewed favorably in the New York Times by the late Chief Justice Warren Burger and subsequently cited by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a major Supreme Court opinion; the Washington Post dubbed Olson an "intellectual guru of tort reform". The Excuse Factory, his book on litigation in the workplace, was met with accolades everywhere from The American Lawyer ("engaging, witty and provocative") and the London Times ("riveting") to the A.B.A. Journal ("wittily scathing") and The American Spectator ("devastating and eloquent"). His new book The Rule of Lawyers has already been hailed in the American Lawyer as "wry, amusing" as well as "provocative and enjoyable".

A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, the think tank in New York City, Mr. Olson is a frequent contributor to the magazine Reason, and his writing appears regularly in such publications as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has appeared numerous times before Congress, federal agencies and state lawmakers and has approximately 300 broadcast appearances under his belt, including "Crossfire", "MacNeil-Lehrer", "Oprah", "Donahue", and NPR. His website Overlawyered.com, launched in 1999, has won wide acclaim for its mix of entertaining and serious commentary.

Before joining the Manhattan Institute in 1985 he spent five years with the American Enterprise Institute, and worked before that on Capitol Hill. He speaks regularly before professional, business and student audiences. A Yale graduate, he resides in the New York area.

The Excuse Factory: How Employment Law Is Paralyzing the American Workplace
by Walter K. Olson The Free Press, 1997

Walter Olson documents how a web of regulations, laws, and court decisions has fouled and restricted employers' and employees' relationships and freedoms.
MORE . . .


The Litigation Explosion: What Happened When America Unleashed the Lawsuit
by Walter K. Olson Penguin Books, 1991

Called the best book ever written on the subject of lawsuits in the United States. Both serious and entertaining, Olson's Litigation Explosion documents how America has become the most litigious society in the world. MORE . . .



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"Anyone in the market for a truly gripping read about tort lawyers should skip Grisham's novel and instead pick up Walter K. Olson's nonfiction book The Rule of Lawyers, a brilliant expose of the way courts are being overwhelmed by mass tort actions. "
—Robert Lenzner

"In just ten chapters,
Olson provides a clear,
compelling analysis
of class action litigation and the lawyers who press for it run
amok. As the subtitle implies, the situation has transformed the
justice system into a "just us" system, with the lawyers having
their way, and undermining the rule of law in the U.S. Olson does
a masterful job of presenting the complexities of the legal system
in straightforward, nontechnical language. The Rule of Lawyers is
a very important book: one to be read and shared with others."
—Sunni Maravillosa

"By taking on some the favorite cases cited by Nader and Smith— tobacco, gun, breast implant, lead paint and asbestos litigation—Olson demonstrates how trial lawyers are turning themselves into a Fourth, higher, Branch of government, without the constraints democracy imposes on the other branches."
—Duane Freese
Tech Central Station

“While the trial lawyers continue
to prowl for the next big score,
The Rule of Lawyers provides valuable ammunition for those
who march under the banner of legal reform. Perhaps more important, it serves as a wake-up call to those who have long turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the crisis of "jackpot justice" in our courts and the growing influence
of trial lawyers in public office.”
—Eric Shippers

“Mr. Olson's engaging prose,
for all its charm, is propelled
by a sense of outrage at the abuses he describes: He slams his opponents onto the mat,
lets them rise slightly in a daze and then slams them down
again, round after round.”
—David Price
Wall Street Journal

"Olson's wry, amusing, libertarian take on the increasingly preposterous role that mass tort lawyers have assumed in our society—and in the funding of the Democratic Party—man not only spur many Democrats to reshuffle their standard talking points on those issues, but may even afford them some guilty, cant-piercing pleasures along the way."
—Roger Parloff,
Legal Times

Praise for Walter Olson's first book, The Litigation Explosion:

“From malpractice suits to libel actions, from job discrimination to divorce, suing first and asking questions later has become a way of life in the United States. The Litigation Explosion is the first major exploration of this trend—why it developed, who profits and who loses, and how it can be contained.”
Former Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger,
New York Times
Book Review, 1991