Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Street Lawyer: Novel Review

You might be looking for an interesting novel to read. Personally, the legal thriller genre is my favorite, and I would recommend this genre to law students, lawyers, or anyone interested in advocating justice and the rule of law. A Legal thriller is sure to take you into the mind of a seasoned lawyer and endow you with a legal mentality - a much needed mentality in today's world of law suits and litigation. THE STREET LAWYER is a must-read legal thriller.

THE STREET LAWYER is written by the "lord of legal thrillers" - John Grisham.

The novel tells the story of Michael Brock, 32, a Yale graduate and Senior Associate at Drake and Sweeny - one of the biggest law firms in Washington D.C. For five years, Michael has been working eight hours a day for six days a week and is on the right track to becoming a partner at the big firm.

Fortunately or unfortunately - depending on how you see it - Michael's career takes an unexpected turn - on a cold winter morning when a "street bum", later identified as DeVon Hardy, takes hostages on the sixth floor of the mighty Drake and Sweeney building. The hostages include Michael Brock and eight other lawyers. What does DeVon Hardy want?

As you would expect, the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team is called in to rescue the nine white affluent lawyers - held hostage by a homeless black male, in a renown law firm in D.C. A marksman (sharpshooter) from the SWAT team takes out Hardy - with a bullet in the head. The homeless man's blood splashes on Michael's face - marking a turning point in the young lawyer's life!

Michael Brock, having survived a hostage situation, makes it his mission to find out why DeVon Hardy, picked Drake and Sweeney from among the many law firms in Washington D.C. Michael's research takes him to the 14th Street Legal Clinic - a law firm that protects homeless people. The Clinic's top dog - Mordecai Green, takes Michael into the lives of countless homeless people in Washington D.C. What he saw pricked his conscience!

While on the streets, Michael discovers that Drake and Sweeney recently engineered the wrongful eviction of "squatters" who were paying rents in an old building in D.C. The evictees were all powerless people entitled to compensation for eviction without due process - DeVon Hardy, now of blessed memory, was one of the evictees.

Michael Brock makes even more shocking and disheartening discoveries!

In a bid to defend society's powerless and homeless people, Michael Brock turns his back on a promising future at Drake and Sweeny - where "the money seems endless", and becomes a street lawyer with less pay - representing homeless people in desperate need of an advocate at law. Michael initiates a lawsuit on behalf of the evictees; a lawsuit against his former employer - Drake and Sweeney.

If you have read a book by John Grisham, you would agree that the writer is a master of legal thrillers. His protagonists are mostly lawyers, and as a successful lawyer himself - John Grisham's protagonists capture the true essence of what it takes to succeed in the courtroom.

As a [former] law student, I can relate to Michael Brock in THE STREET LAWYER. We all study the law - hoping to advocate for justice, but somewhere down the road, many stray away from the cause; many prefer to represent clients with the deepest pockets - to the detriment of the poor and powerless. Like Michael Brock, many lawyers and advocates need a wake-up call!

I absolutely enjoyed reading THE STREET LAWYER, and I highly recommend the novel. Every lawyer, law student and anyone in position to help the powerless should read this novel. It is an inspiration.
Author: John Grisham
Pages: Paperback 458 pages
Publisher: Dell Publishing
Publication Date: February 1999
ISBN: 0-440 22570-1 

In the words on Michael Brock - in THE STREET LAWYER - "I'm thinking about Public Interest Law... It's when you work for the good of society without making a lot of money." 


  1. That's a good one there. It's rather inspirational!We all, at some point in our early legal studies, went into law to do JUSTICE. And it's just stricking how this ideal has been swept away by the "capitalistic" society we now live in.

    I suggest you to read this book: PLUNDER:WHEN THE RULE OF LAW IS ILLEGAL, by Ugo Mattei and Laura Nader.
    A book about the dark side of the law, as used by International Financial Institutions to victimise wicker populations and plunder their resources.

  2. THE STREET LAWYER is absolutely inspirational, Yann. I'm glad it strikes a chord.

    I have not read the book: PLUNDER: WHEN THE RULE OF LAW IS ILLEGAL. From the title - I guess it's a terrific read. I'll endeavor to grab a copy.

    Thank for the input.

  3. Love this book!! Great post and great blog! Please visit mine about books and literature (it´s in spanish though!).


    Luciano from Argentina


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