This January, Democrat Phil Murphy will be sworn in as the 56th New Jersey Governor, and the State Legislature will convene its 218th session, with many new faces under the State House dome. Although the people in power are changing, our mission remains the same. We are committed to improving New Jersey’s civil justice system to ensure that all parties are treated fairly. The desire for a fair and efficient legal system crosses party lines and unites otherwise divided factions.
In addition to just being the right thing to strive for in a civil society that values the rule of law, a fair legal system is also an important driver of economic development. States with predictable legal systems allow businesses to more accurately project what future legal expenses will be, allowing them to free up capital for business expansion and job creation. When businesses fear unpredictable litigation, they are overly cautious about launching new ventures and bringing innovative products to market.
A whopping 85% of business leaders say a state’s legal environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their company, including where to locate or expand. This point was driven home at a recent event we hosted where general counsel confirmed they were actively looking to move operations out of states with poor legal climates in response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California.
Improving our state’s legal climate should be a top priority for Murphy and the Legislature, particularly as they attempt to invigorate the state’s economy in order to pay for other policy priorities. Unlike other tools in the economic development toolbox, such as tax incentives or regulatory reform, improving our state’s legal system is a budget-neutral option.
In the short run, legal reform can provide an economic stimulus without loss of tax receipts or an increase in spending. In the long run, states with improved litigation climates see more economic activity, leading to increased revenue collections.
We are eager to work with the new administration and the Legislature to improve our state’s legal climate.