Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Litigators

It's been a while since I read a John Grisham book. Usually they are entertaining but not much different from one to another. My Dad had bought this one while he was staying with us over the holidays, finished it and left it here, so I figured it was worth a read.

This is the story of a couple of "street lawyers" aka "ambulance chasers" who are struggling to make ends meet. Oscar is eager to retire but can't afford to, the Wally is younger and is always on the lookout of hitching on to a mass tort case that will make them rich. They are joined by David, a former corporate lawyer, who fled the grind one day, and ended up at Finley & Figg with no plan, but ends up joining their practice.

Wally finally does find his potential gold mine case in a drug called Krayoxx, which is believed to cause heart disease and death. He is quickly over his head and despite connecting with a big wealthy firm that specializes in mass tort, as usual anything that seems too easy to be true, usually is. Overall it was a quick read, and pretty entertaining.

Mass tort lawyers and street lawyers are probably among the specialties with the worst reputation in the legal profession. In this book, you definitely sympathize with Finley & Figg, and get even more disgusted with mass tort lawyers. Grisham shows how many of these lawyers and their paid experts make fortunes and the people they are representing get next to nothing.

Personally I think most of the class actions that take place in this country are unfounded, and in most cases they are driven by lawyers looking to line their pockets even further by preying on the emotions of families of sick people. I do like to learn something from any book I read, and while I'm sure the sleaze factor was ramped up to make it easier to side with Finley & Figg, it was interesting to learn more about how these class actions work. As with any Grisham book, in the end everything is wrapped up pretty quickly and favorably for the main characters but not necessarily in the way you would expect. Overall I enjoyed it, but it's not a book I would proactively recommend.

Next up: 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  It's also been a while since I've read anything by King, but this one seemed interesting.  It'll probably take me a while as I have the hardcover which in King's usual style is over 800 pages so not real easy to bring around with me. 

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