I'm interning for a month in Aix-en-Provence, France with a French law firm. As I have a few minutes of free time, I thought I'd throw out some of the perspective my time working at a French law firm has given me on the costs and benefits of the American and French legal systems. A lot of what I write below might seem like obvious things to many readers, especially those who have studied history or law at all, but I just want to lay out all of the important facts so that even those readers with a very elementary knowledge of law can follow along.
Note: This is a long article, and I don't expect everyone to read it. Therefore, these two paragraphs in italics sum up my point:
Common law countries traditionally have less regulation but more litigation, while civil law countries have the inverse setup. With more litigation and less regulation, we only have the courts deciding disputes when actual wrongs have occurred, contrary to an over-regulated system where companies are punished by the government for things they have not even done yet.
I think that the United States' traditional model of allowing a huge amount of litigation while having relatively small regulation has served us well, as it has allowed our economy to grow while punishing companies in court if and when they actually do something wrong. However, now that we are maintaining our massive amount of litigation AND adding on a suffocating amount of regulation, we threaten to suffocate our economy and stifle any growth by businesses attempting to be honest who fear they will be punished at every term by both litigation and regulation.
Now, if you want to know the historical background and rationale for why I wrote the above paragraphs, keep on reading: