Friday, June 15, 2012

The Litigators

John Grisham has once again proven himself a skilled storyteller, with a legal literary tale that is a cross between the lighthearted humor of "Boston Legal" and the legal finesse of "L.A. Law". The Litigators which draws heavily on legal drama weaves this otherwise humorous satire into a courtroom saga of litigation and the actual practice of law.

The story features David Zinc, Wally Figg, and Oscar Finley of the F&F attorneys at law known as "a boutique law firm", then "The 3 Stooges" and as clients, cases and the partners crumbled around him, David finally became known as, a Litigator.

Harvard Law graduate, David Zinc is the youngest and more financially successful of the F&F law firm trio, he literally stumbled into the Finley and Figg agency after he decided to "snap" in an elevator at Trust Tower one thousand feet upward into the clouds of Chicago. His dramatic exit from the prestigious Rogan Rothberg - 5th placed in hours billed per attorney - law firm, was followed by his decision to quit, go on a drunken binge, and then end up at the unfamiliar office of Finley & Figg with people he did not know.

62 year old Oscar Finley is the senior partner, who won the building in a lawsuit. He carries a very large gun in his briefcase and does not hesitate to use it. His marriage isn't pleasant but he’s too afraid to file for a divorce. His biggest disappointment with the firm's newest and only big case is that the FDA pulled the drug in question, Krayoxx off the market - Oscar was so hoping it would kill his wife so he wouldn't have to share the anticipated proceeds with her via the a messy costly divorce he wanted to avoid. 

And then there's Wally Figg, a pathetic always-recovering alcoholic, trying to score the big pay day client. He is flawed with endless defects, including four failed marriages. He advertises the firm’s services, against Oscar's approval, any and everywhere he can - including on bingo cards.  His greed or perhaps need for that one big colossal win, single-handily threaten to professionally, morally, and financially bankrupt the firm, and perhaps cause physical devastation as well. 

To round off the colorful crew of misfits, is Rochelle Gibson the less than knowledgeable "legal" secretary - she lacks formal training but seems to made it up in experience.  Although vastly untrained, her qualifications are continually overlooked by the two partners, because years ago F&F mishandled her case(s), beginning with an auto crash case Wallis Figg acquired by impersonating a physician and having her sign a contract for legal representation -while she was bombed on Percocet – he promised her the moon, then proceeded to butcher her case, next was her divorce case which Oscar filled and then the bankruptcy case. Any foolish notion either had to fire her, merely dissipated with her ace-in-the-hole threat to sue them for malpractice.
Basically, Oscar thought the firm should take every case that came through the door, while Wally was always searching for the big financial kill. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg had succumb to being ambulance chasers. But now with David onboard there was an anticipation of successful profit.  And along the way, they may just learn to behalf like a real law firm.  

So, Wally decided to dive head first into a law suit against Varrick Labs, a major pharmaceutical company that manufactured a cholesterol reducing drug called Krayoxx – the claim was that the company knowingly and willing rushed the “bad” drug to market although it could/would cause severe health problems, heart attacks, and death. Wally Figg viciously suggested to his partners and potential clients that Varrick could face lawsuits similar to those against the tobacco industry, and the payoff would be enormous. Unfortunately, prior to the nationwide coverage of the Varrick-Krayoxx trial, Wally neglected to secure a key piece of evidence - the complete and final expert and FDA findings – once those findings were reviewed, he sought to withdraw the suit, yet the trial of the century commenced – and the proceedings were legendary Grisham.

Only an attorney who is also a writer could craft this novel.  Let's face it, It's John Grisham, and besides being a skillful storytelling, rather consciously or unconsciously he is also a instructor on law  and it is with certainty readers will not only be entertain but will also walk away learning some interesting facts about the legal process.

The law, litigation, and the professionals that practice it, mixed with just the right amount of humor is what readers will enjoy as they eagerly journey through the story of "The Litigators".

Review copy provided by publisher.   

The Litigators by John Grisham
Genre: Drama
Publisher: Doubleday, a division of Random House
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Reviewed by Chrystal Dorsey

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