Tax break for trial lawyers raises eyebrows

"If it's true, and the Treasury Department administratively does create a new tax break for trial lawyers, we can expect to see more speculative lawsuits that limit economic growth and job creation," said Tiger Joyce, the group's president, in prepared remarks.

"We can either create more jobs or more lawsuits," Joyce added. "We can't realistically create both, and surely officials at Treasury and throughout the administration understand this basic reality."

John Bowman, president of the American Association for Justice, announced the Treasury's plan at a conference in Canada, reported LegalNewsline.com.

According to the report, the tax break would enable attorneys to deduct expenses for contingency lawsuits upfront, making cases less expensive. 

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) last year introduced similar legislation. The measures received a fair amount of political pushback and were not enacted. Treasury would essentially have to circumvent the will of Congress to create the tax break.

"Congress has thus far chosen not to advance this trial lawyer tax break with legislation," Joyce said. "So why would the administration even consider creating such a break by fiat?"