2. – 465.) A Life in My Hands by J.W. Ehrlich – The flamboyant San Francisco lawyer wrote his autobiography at 65 in 1965. He recounts leaving home in rural Maryland at 16 after a dispute with his father. After serving in WW I he rode the rails to San Francisco arriving totally broke. While working 2 jobs he also attended law schools. He supplemented his income by boxing professionally. A very clever and innovative lawyer he became San Francisco’s choice for those in desperate trouble with the law. He maintained friendships with the police, underworld and business community. He obviously never turned down a request for an interview and always provided one or more lively quotes. He would use tricks and manipulations if needed. Mainly he relied on hard work and his oratorical skills to save everyone he represented who was charged with capital murder from the gas chamber. He represented people in family law and other forms of litigation and had business clients. He reminds me of my practice on the grand scale of San Francisco. He loved the city. The “Master” had no patience for those who considered themselves high and mighty. He enjoyed the characters of his city. He deplored false modesty and was proud of his accomplishments. At 65 he relished every day from when he awoke at 5:00 in the morning until he retired around midnight. He had a simple fee quote for those charged with murder. It was E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G they owned for what service is more valuable than saving a client from execution. As I re-read the book (I have an old paperback version) I was reminded more and more of Ajit. Each had a long term excellent marriage and 2 children. Each was a small fierce fighter for his client who was afraid of no one. Each was ready to throw a punch if necessary. The stories are told very well. It is easy to understand his success at the bar. (There is a blog carried on by his estate called neverpleadguilty. Apparently that was his standard advice to clients. There is abundance of interesting information and a video of him on the Johnny Carson which was thoughtful and almost ½ hour long.) (Jan. 4/09) (Second Best of 2009 non-fiction)
- Bill Selnes
- Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
- I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.