In a recent article detailing some of the fraud that has been uncovered in the BP oil spill settlement claims, Reuters’ Alison Frankel makes a great point: plaintiffs’ attorneys should not be given a free pass to behave badly and flout the rules just because they are representing the “little guy.”


As Frankel explains, an attorney being tried on 95-counts federal fraud and identity theft is arguing that the real bad guy isn’t him, but the corporation he was trying to fight on behalf of the little guy. This is the same sort of argument we hear every time the trial attorneys show up to testify at a legislative hearing or file an amicus brief in an appellate case – don’t focus on us, think of the little guy.


Using the little guy as a shield – for criminal purposes or rhetorical device – is a despicable tactic, and one that nobody should fall for.