WASHINGTON — The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) has released its survey ranking the states with the best and worst legal climates in the country. According to the survey, the states with the worst legal climates are California (46th), Alabama (47th), Mississippi (48th), Louisiana (49th), and West Virginia (50th). The states with the best legal climates are Delaware (1st), North Dakota (2nd), Nebraska (3rd), Indiana (4th), and Iowa (5th).
The survey also shows that a state’s legal climate affects how and where a company does business and creates jobs. Two-thirds of the 1,482 corporate lawyers and executives contacted say a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their company, such as where to locate or expand their businesses. That is up 10% from just three years ago.
“With one in 10 Americans out of work and record-high jobless rates in states like California, states can no longer afford to discourage new business and new jobs as a result of a dysfunctional legal climate,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. “States, particularly those at the bottom of the list, desperately need more jobs, not more lawsuits.”
Harris Interactive conducted the survey “Lawsuit Climate 2010: Ranking the States” by telephone and online from Oct. 2009 to Jan. 2010. The respondents, general counsels and senior attorneys or executives in companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million, were asked to rank states for their overall treatment of tort, contract, and class action litigation. Among other elements, respondents also ranked states for the impartiality and competence of its judges and the fairness of its juries.