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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

THE BEST LEGAL BOOKS

Following up on MM's nice post on the best legal movies, we submit our post on the best legal books. These are books either by lawyers, or about lawyers, more so then about specific legal cases. So for example, we will not consider A Civil Action. Or any of the publications about the OJ case. 

Number one: For us, there is no question that the biography about Edward Bennett Williams, entitled "The Man To See" is the best legal biography we have ever read. Period. End of discussion. If you're searching for a last minute legal gift for the trial lawyer in your life, order this from Amazon. 

Number two: Lee Bailey's "The Defense Never Rests" is the reason why we became a lawyer. It's the classic book by a defense attorney about his career by one of the very best who ever sat at the table for the defense 

Number Three: "The Art of Cross Examination" by Francis L. Wellman is the classic book on the tool of a trial lawyer's craft. It is also the reason why we became a lawyer. 

Number Four: "Win Your Case" by Gerry Spence. Perhaps the best defense lawyer ever, writes about his method for winning cases. Every young PD should read this book. Twice. 

Number Five: Any biography of Lincoln that covers his legal career. The law meant a great deal to our sixteenth and greatest President. His third and last law partner- William Herndon was quoted as saying that Lincoln knew little about the rules of evidence or pleadings, and cared even less for them. Lincoln was motivated by justice and saw the law, and used the law, as a means to an end. He also used the law for much needed income at a time in his life when he was still struggling financially. 

Any decent trial lawyer carries with her a few dozen Lincoln Legal Quotes that can be fired off at the appropriate time during an argument. Just ask one of the Judges in the REGJB whose chambers is on the second floor. He will be happy to expound upon the value of a good Lincoln quote.

REGJB NEWS:  Email reports from a few lawyers that a large contingent of jurors were gathered at 9AM this morning for a case in Judge Victoria Diaz's Tinkler-Mendez's court room. Anyone know what's going on? Late in the year for a trial, but the defense has to love an Xmas verdict. UPDATE: A reader writes in that "the entire fourth floor is being over-run with jurors."

From occupied America, where the new tax bill gives a child credit of $75 to families earning less than $14,000.00 a year, and $4,000.00 to families earning more than $400,000.00 a year, because fair is fair, right? Fight the Power!

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fatal Vision by Joe McGinnis.

Anonymous said...

This book may not be about the law but it will make you a better lawyer: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

Rumpole said...

I loved Fatal Vision when it came out. Although since then McGinnis has been discredited. And I still think that MacDonald, although guilty, wasn't proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But it's about one case, and this was a post about lawyers biographies or books lawyers have written about their career.

Anonymous said...

Hard to top "Final Verdict," by Adele Rogers St. Johns, a biography of her father, L.A. legend Earl Rogers, which I inherited as part of Carl Vizzi's legal library. Not only is this book the best legal book I have ever read but it is the best biography of any sort and in the running for the best book ever. Adele was a famous journalist in her own right and tells the sad story of her father's descent from nationwide celebrity to alcoholic death in a skid row hotel with no punches pulled. The book reads like literature and contains plenty of great descriptions of Earl Rogers' trials--including his defense of Clarence Darrow. This is one of the few books I have read more than once and I might read it again before I die.

Anonymous said...

How quickly we forget: Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Anonymous said...

Ah, the "Child Tax Credit," better titled the "Tax on the Childless." In occupied America, where you get a tax penalty for not having kids, not leveraging yourself with student loans, not further leveraging yourself with a mortgage, and for having a job (because w-2 employees get crushed next to "entrepreneurs").

To all of you self employed, parent, home owners who are still paying off student loans - you're welcome for the roads.

Rumpole said...

Helter Skelter was an amazing book. But again, a book about a case is not the subject of this post.

Millennial Me said...

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EyeonShumie said...

Happy Birthday to the one, the only THE SHUMIE!!!

Anonymous said...

With these parameters in mind, I stood up after a couple of glasses of wine for lunch and perused by bookshelf. Try Fearlesss: The Richard A. Sprague Story by Joseph Daughen. Sprague was head of the homicide unit in the Philadelphia DA's office from the 1950's until the late 60's when he became Chief Assistant to Arlen Spector, later a US Senator. Sprague was the only prosecutor I know of who was "retained" by another jurisdiction to prosecute a case while he was employed by another DA's office. That was the famous case of W.A. Tony Boyle, head of the United Mine Workers who was convicted of hiring hit men to rub out his election rival, Joseph Yablonsky. The case garnered national media attention. Sprague went on to head the House investigation of the JFK assassination in 1978. Afterwards and up to this day, he is the most respected and feared lawyer in Philadelphia. He represented ABSCAM defendants. If you had money and got into deep trouble in Philly, he was that city's Man To See.

Real Fake Former Judge said...

I'll follow you sugar britches...with a pic like that I'd follow you anywhere (wink wink).
You gonna follow me back? Or maybe we could meet at the Beverly Hills Hotel and discuss your legal future. Just you, me, a few martinis and Harvey Weinstein.
What do ya say cutie pie?

Anonymous said...

Haha ok

Anonymous said...

Not to take anything away from Williams' trial skills, which were upper echelon and then some, but one should read Lords Of The Realm, by John Helyar (Barbarians At The Gate) about baseball labor relations up to 1994. Williams was general partner of the Orioles. Put it this way: great trial lawyers should stick to their bread and butter. There are some funny excerpts about Williams delivering summation like speeches to his fellow owners which fell on amused and deaf ears.

Anonymous said...

Among the Lowest of the Low: The Culture of Death Row by David VonDrehle if you're into murder and DP work. Fascinating too.

Anonymous said...

MM: you keep saying you're a girl blogger like your gender is a qualification. Now you invite people to follow you on Twitter so we can see what you are perhaps implying is some racy photo?

Who cares about your gender and who cares what you look like?

Why encourage people to treat you differently based on either of those things?

Millennial Me said...

56 (and counting) of the most amazing tweets you can ever read.
@millennialme786
President Trump called them "the most amazing tweets...no one has ever seen anything like them."
Those are actual quotes from the prez
Everyone should check my twitter out. It will make you feel good and I'll buy you a cookie when I see you.
MM

George Frobisher said...

Courtroom, by Quentin Reynolds. Samuel Leibowitz is among the greatest defenders of all time.

Denver vipbonds said...

Helter Skelter was an amazing book but this book may not be about the law.

Denver Bail Bonds

Anonymous said...

Reptile by David Ball & Don Keenan. Published the year after I came out of law school, this book launched a thousand and one DRI white papers. Excellent training wheels for learning how to take and defend a deposition, and build a theme for your civil case.

As far as Lincoln books go, I prefer Gore Vidal.

Anonymous said...

Judge Cal Mapp's traffic law book.

Only kidding.

I loved him but, the book was not so good.

Anonymous said...

5:52 p.m., Cal Mapp's traffic law book was pretty good. I learned from it.

Anonymous said...

The Bramble Bush by Karl Llewellyn

Fake MM said...

OMG, the original book "Legally Blonde" which turned into my fave movie EVER! I just won't admit it to too many peeps cuz I want to be taken seriously. Girl Blogger Power!

Anonymous said...

how does MM leave off the following

presumed innocent must be on this list. and at or near the top. Ford acts and looks like a real prosecutor--drives a shitty car, his best pal is a cop. and the part about the young female ASA going after the older man to further her career ambitions--that shit happens alot.

True believer-James Woods as a burned out former 60's radical lawyer who takes on a murder case. story is kind of ridiculous but woods is very good in the role.

Criminal Justice 1990 HBO movie is remarkable for how it focuses on a plain old robbery case of which thousands a year pass through the courts in Miami and shows the whole process in a very realistic fashion

Seth Sklarey said...

Check out Gerry Spence cross examining a witness about how he was coached:

https://youtu.be/_EK9SLLlObk

My Life on Trial by Melvin Belli and a lot of how to books by Belli

King of the Courtroom, Percy Foreman for the Defense

The Trial Lawyer, What it Takes to Win, by David Berg