Inside the Powerful World of America's High- Stakes Trial Lawyers
The lawyers depicted here, according to journalist Jenkins, are members of a hidden legal industry of "entrepreneurs of adversity" who make fortunes from contingency fees. He re-creates celebrated cases of six advocates, among them Texas attorney Stephen Susman, who prevented 22 banks from foreclosing on $1.5 billion borrowed by the Hunt brothers to stave off bankruptcy incurred by their unsuccessful attempt to corner the world's silver market; Morton Galane, Las Vegas attorney, who won for performer Wayne Newton the biggest libel verdict in history against NBC, despite the media's First Amendment free-speech protection; New Jersey attorney Marc Edell's successful allegation that a tobacco industry's corporate conspiracy resulted in the death by cancer of a cigarette smoker. Pungent dialogue and crisp characterization of the personality and style of each lawyer animate these courtroom dramas, but, as the author makes clear, such legal virtuosity is available to few plantiffs.
Jenkins's boast that his book "will take you right into the courtroom with the country's greatest lawyers as they pursue the biggest verdicts in history" is not entirely hyperbole. The six attorneys profiled here--all plaintiff trial lawyers--are masters of the law of torts and operate at the million-dollar level. Among these "swashbucklers of American jurisprudence" are Mort Galane, Wayne Newton's counsel for the entertainer's libel action against NBC; John Coale, a specialist in disasters like the Bhopal chemical leak; and Marc Edell, who took on the tobacco industry in Cippollone v. Liggett . The book's colorful characters, absorbing cases, and readable style make it a top choice for popular law collections. - Kenneth F. Kister, Poynter Inst. for Media Studies, St. Petersburg, Fla.
author. publisher. entrepreneur.