In "A Y2K Glitch for Lawyers: Few Lawsuits" [front page, Jan. 10], representatives of the plaintiff's bar claimed that their efforts in part prevented a Y2K computer meltdown. That is Washington-caliber spin.

For years, businesses have been preparing themselves for 2000, spending hundreds of billions on systems readiness. This forward-looking action by the private sector was supported by public sector action--passage of the federal Y2K Act. This law encouraged fixing Y2K problems before they occurred, prompt resolution rather than drawn-out lawsuits and alternatives to court action.

Before the act, many believe, the fear of lawsuits slowed efforts to fix Y2K problems--too many predatory lawyers were ready to pounce even at the admission of a Y2K problem. With the law in place, experts were free to proceed without fear of lawsuits, and Jan. 1 came and went uneventfully.

The plaintiff's bar vigorously fought this act. Had they truly wanted to solve Y2K problems before they occurred, they would have joined the dozens of organizations and companies that worked for its passage. Instead, their opposition, being "spun" now as the threat that spurred problem-solving, stood in the way of legislative progress. Their attempts at rewriting history cannot rewrite their record.

ROBERT E. VAGLEY

President

American Insurance Association

Washington