Sunday, August 23, 2009

Five best books: trial lawyers at work

The trial lawyer John Quinn is the founder and managing ­partner of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges LLP in Los Angeles.

For the Wall Street Journal he named a five best list of books about trial lawyers at work. One book on the list:
A Civil Action
by Jonathan Harr
Random House, 1995

Crusaders don't win every courtroom drama, as Jonathan Harr makes clear in this account of a lawsuit brought against W.R. Grace and a Beatrice subsidiary by plaintiffs who claimed that the companies dumped cancer-causing toxins into the water supply of Woburn, Mass. In Harr's telling, the plaintiffs' lawyer, Jan Schlichtman, risked his career and his sanity by pursuing justice against corporate giants who were represented by an army of ­sophisticated litigators. In absorbing detail, Harr shows how ­Schlichtman pieced together the evidence. The author conveys as well the tension and drama of the pre-trial maneuvers that are the crucial battleground in most lawsuits. But the book's core is the story of Schlichtman's struggle against both limited resources and his own arrogance. "A Civil Action" far outshines the 1998 movie it inspired.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue