Summertime, and the reading is easy

It’s been a few weeks since my last post. For some, summertime is a slow season. For me, it’s been very busy. I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon.

For those of you who do you have some time to get away in the few remaining weeks of summer, I’d like to recommend some books I think all young lawyers should read.

1) “How to Argue and Win Every Time” by Gerry Spence. Most people my age don’t know who he is, but I snagged his autobiography from my father’s bookshelf when I was in high school. He’s probably the most famous trial lawyer of the second half of the 20th century. He’s a legend. But this book is no collection of war stories; instead, it is a collection of tips on how to be more effective at persuasion. Pair this with his other book, “Win Your Case.” These two books are essential reading for trial lawyers. Actually, you should listen to Spence read Win Your Case on Audible instead.

2) “The First Rumpole Omnibus” by John Mortimer. Rumpole is sort of a British Matlock, only like most of us, he doesn’t win every time. Not only are the prosecutors against him but the judges are against him, the facts are often against him and sometimes even his own partners are against him. But he still fights the good fight. Rumpole began as a British TV show, but Mortimer quickly realized that the screenplays could be turned into good short stories. As a result, the Rumpole stories are light, funn, and quick. They often feel like a cross between P.G. Woodhouse and Agatha Christie. I highly recommend all things Rumpole.

3) “A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr. This was made into a movie starring John Travolta in 1998. The movie was good, the book is better. Read this to learn how a plaintiff lawyer pursuing justice can get in over his head doing what he thinks is right. It actually provides a decent insight into how a mass tort case can unfold from both sides of the “v.” (A book that does an even better job of showing the life span of a case from both the plaintiff and defense side is Barry Werth’s “Damages“, which details a birth-injury case.)

4). Finally, I renew my recommendation of Brian Tannenbaum’s “The Practice.”

What, am I the only lawyer who enjoys reading about the practice of law in my spare time?

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