Here's HBO comedian John Oliver, explaining concisely how trial lawyers helped prevent the Innovation Act — a bill to stop patent trolling — from becoming law during the last Congress. They used their clout in the Senate, where then Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was and remains one of the plaintiffs' bar's staunchest allies. (Be aware that the clip contains some inappropriate language — you might want to use earphones if you're in the office.)

This is about as cut-and-dry a case as you can find of lawsuit abuse — a completely indefensible practice that trial lawyers will go to the mat to defend because it means big money for some of their less scrupulous practitioners. But there are similar examples ranging from slip-and-fall cases to shareholder lawsuits to medical malpractice that could be used to illustrate the same point.