Class Counsel, Self-Interest, and Other People’s Money

Louis W. Hensler III

Regent University School of Law


University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 35, p. 53, 2004

The uproar over class actions has been building for years. Despite numerous efforts at reform, things are not getting much better. This hostility toward the class action appears to be driven by twin concerns – the class action can be unfair to defendants on one hand, and it can impinge on the interest of plaintiffs in pursuing strong individual claims on the other. The thesis of this article is that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal court, as it functions today, fails, at least in part, because it is employed without regard to a proper view of human nature. A recognition of man's natural selfishness is part of the warp and woof of our legal system. At every step, the framers of the U.S. Constitution were careful to check the power of men over other men. This article suggests that many of the widely recognized problems with class actions as they are conducted today stem from the law’s failure to account for the fact that class counsel, while officers of the court, are also, like the rest of us, mere men and women, not angels. Because class counsel are mere mortals, with all the natural self-centeredness that mortal status entails, the power of class counsel to benefit themselves at the expense of defendants and at the expense of their own clients must be checked, not merely re-directed, or it will be wielded in the interest of those counsel and to the oppression of both plaintiffs and defendants.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 56

Keywords: class action, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, self-interest, civil procedure

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: February 10, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Hensler, Louis W., Class Counsel, Self-Interest, and Other People’s Money (2004). University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 35, p. 53, 2004. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2002217

Contact Information

Louis W. Hensler III (Contact Author)
Regent University School of Law ( email )
1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
United States
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 307
Downloads: 27

© 2016 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollobot1 in 0.218 seconds