Vice-President Dan Quayle's assault on lawyers at an American Bar Assn. meeting in August was only the leading edge of a White House reform campaign. On Oct. 1, Quayle told the midsize companies of the American Business Conference that the Administration would soon propose legislation to slash contingency fees for courtroom experts, stick losers with legal fees in civil cases, and limit punitive-damage awards. President Bush also plans to issue an executive order that would implement some of these changes in cases where the federal government is the plaintiff.