Sunday, December 13, 2009

Erin Brockovich Joins The Paralegal Voice

By Vicki Voisin, ACP and Lynne DeVenny, NCCP

Is there any paralegal that isn't fascinated and inspired by Erin Brockovich's story, made famous by the movie of the same name?

Erin Brockovich was nominated for five Academy Awards, and Julia Roberts won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Erin's perseverance and courage in her pursuit of the now famous environmental class action against Pacific Gas and Electric. That case resulted in a landmark settlement (and perhaps the biggest paralegal bonus ever).

We were understandably excited when Erin Brockovich - perhaps the most famous and visible paralegal on the planet - accepted Legal Talk Network's invitation to be our guest on a recent episode of The Paralegal Voice.

In Erin’s own words, the movie’s depiction of her is "spot on". We agree that Julia Roberts captured her indomitable spirit of activism: her passion and enthusiasm for all things environmental rang loud and clear as she answered our questions and discussed her current environmental causes.

Even after the case against PG&E was settled and she achieved international fame from the movie, Erin didn’t rest on her laurels. Instead, she became a consultant on other environmental law cases, as well as a global speaker, appearing in television series and news programs. She remains a tireless crusader for the environment.

It's clear from the podcast that Erin recognizes the value, as well as the unique abilities, of paralegals. She urges paralegals to dig into files and ask a question when something doesn’t look right. She says never be afraid to use your "paralegal sixth sense".

We're grateful to Erin, not only for graciously sharing her time with us, but also for her continued work to make a better world for all of us.

The following are links to web sites of interest regarding Erin’s work that were mentioned during the interview:

Brockovich Research and Consulting, including her blog:

Erin’s Biography: Bio

Girardi and Keese (the law firm Erin consults with on the West Coast)
Weitz & Luxenberg (the law firm Erin consults with on the East Coast)
Shine Lawyers (the law firm Erin consults with in Australia)
Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA): Provides the EPA with authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. Certain substances are generally excluded from TSCA, including, among others, food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides.
The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act: Would help protect the health of the American children by placing the burden of proof on the chemical industry, requiring manufacturers to first prove a chemical is actually safe before it's allowed into a consumer product. Currently, all of these chemicals are allowed into the marketplace until they are proven dangerous. (
Million Baby Crawl: Babies everywhere are crawling to Washington and saying “no” to toxic chemicals found in household products.
Law Buzz Famous Trials: Provides insight into the movie Erin Brockovich.

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