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Book Review- John Grisham’s “The Appeal”: Fictional or Non-fictional?

When flying, I find a good book will make me forget about the small quarters, obnoxious people, and crying babies. I recently read John Grisham’s “The Appeal”, and was so taken back by some of his descriptions in the book and how closely they came to non-fictional events and groups.

For example, in describing the position of the wealthy business owner’s perception and plan to beat the small firm’s large verdict against them; that questioned his company’s tactics in polluting and ultimately killing local people in the community:

“Summary: These people are heavily in debt and hanging on by their fingernails.  A little push, and they’re over the edge. Strategy:  Drag out the appeals, delay, delay.  Crank up pressure from the bank. Possible buyout of Second State, then call the loan.  Bankruptcy would be the only course.  Huge distraction as appeals rage on. Also, Paytons would be unable to pursue their other thirty (or so) cases versus Krane and would probably decline more clients.” p.96

Another interesting description about my own brethren:

Trial lawyers, always a colorful and eclectic bunch. Cowboys, rogues, radicals, longhairs, corporate suits, flamboyant mavericks, bikers, deacons, good ole boys, street hustlers, pure ambulance chasers, faces from billboards and yellow pages and early morning television.  They were anything but boring.  They fought among themselves like a violent family, yet they had the ability to stop bickering, circle the wagons, and attack their enemies.  They came from cities, where they feuded over cases and clients, and they came from the small towns, where they honed their skills before simple jurors reluctant to part with anyone’s money.  Some had jets and buzzed around the country piecing together the latest class action in the latest mass torts.  Others were repulsed by the mass tort game and clung proudly to the tradition of trying legitimate cases one at a time…..A few did their work in firms where they pooled money and talent, but firms of trial lawyers were notoriously difficult to keep together. Most were lone gunmen too eccentric to keep much of a staff…… If they shared anything, it was a streak of fierce independence and the thrill of representing David against Goliath.” p 197-98

Amen. What a great book in the way it broke down issues of corporate greed, mass torts, political elections and power & politics.

In my brief tenure as a trial lawyer it was too on point and too descriptive of everyday non-fictional events. If only the populace of people read books and sought for deeper understanding of how the system works there would not be so many angry, crying, and perplexed people in my office on a weekly basis.

A response I seem to give too often, “No that is not legal but they do it all the time because no one will call them on it!”  Maybe their time is coming……..