But they're often all we've got.
The other day, I saw an ad essentially fishing for clients against glyphosate, which is marketed as Roundup by Monsanto.
The state of California is set to require a label warning about glyphosate, saying it is linked to cancer. Other agencies, including the EU and EPA reject that assertion.
I don't know who's right. But the regulatory agencies are often influenced by corporate giants with billions at stake.
Particularly now that Trump is president -- whose EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is trying to reverse every environmental protection he can find -- it is becoming increasingly unlikely that full and fair research about possible carcinogens will be conducted, or continue to be conducted if new evidence surfaces.
About glyphosate or any other chemical or product.
That is why the trial lawyers are so important.
From Washington to state capitols to even local government meeting rooms, big business pretty much controls the executive and legislative branches.
Only the courts -- themselves weakened by decades of right-wing appointments -- offer a chance for a fair airing of grievances, particularly through the discovery process when internal corporate documents could be unearthed.
If they are victorious, trial lawyers will get huge payouts on fees.
And, of course, the plaintiffs will get something.
But we all win if dangerous threats to our health and safety are exposed.
In this land of unregulated capitalism, trial lawyers, no matter what their motives, are often the only friend we've got.