It should come as no surprise to those who know me that I read a lot of books related to the law. I read fiction and non-fiction about the law and have since I was a youngster. Since I love to read about the law, I was drawn to John Grisham’s books when The Firm first came out. I remember looking at the cover and thinking, “This might be good.” It was before all the buzz. I read most of his books…up to The Runaway Jury. I stopped reading him because I thought the books got predictable and kind of boring.
A friend of mine at work, let me borrow The Litigators. The story centers around three lawyers – two are ambulance chasing partners. The third works at a large firm in downtown Chicago. He works a zillion hours a week and one day, on the way to work, he flips out – has a panic attack, jumps back into the elevator and goes to a bar. At the bar, he gets rip-roaring drunk and ends up at the ambulance-chasing lawyers, Finley and Fogg’s law firm. He starts working there.
The book follows the three inexperienced litigators into the world of mass tort. They file a lawsuit against a big pharmaceutical company over a cholesterol lowering drug. Turns out that they probably jumped the gun and circumstances – and the drug company’s lawyers plot against them. They are over their heads.
I loved the book. Not because it was suspenseful (it wasn’t), but because it told the story of how law works in America today. Not to mention the fact that two of the lawyers violate about every ethical cannon there is. For those who don’t practice law, you may not recognize everything they do that’s wrong. But then again, some of them are so obvious you’ll see them no matter what you do. I want to make it required reading when I teach ethics again. There are so many things the lawyers do that are not ethical. Here’s a partial list: paying clients for referrals, showing up unsolicited at the hospital, showing up at the scene of an accident.
The book was entertaining and I can safely say it wasn’t a waste of my time. If you like Grisham, you’ll like the book. I liked most of the characters even the ones that you aren’t supposed to like. The plotting was good and fast-paced.