About Me

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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.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Grisham's Lawyers

I have long believed that a key element in the legal mysteries of John Grisham is his ability to create interesting lawyers. The breadth of the lawyers he has created is striking:

1.) The Racketeer - Malcolm Bannister is a black 43 year old disbarred lawyer from Virginia serving a 10 year sentence for a breach of the RICO statutes;

2.) The Litigators – In David Zinc there is a denizen of a legal factory, this time in Chicago. He escapes the giant firm for a place in the office of street front lawyers, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg, scrambling to make a living who make a bad decision to venture into high stakes mass torts;

3.) The Associate – Kyle McAvoy is a young lawyer employed in one of New York City’s giant legal factories where he grinds away for the partners;

4.) The Confession – Robbie Flak is a flamboyant Texas defence counsel trying to save a young black man from execution;

5.) The Appeal - Wes and Mary Grace Payton are hard working trial lawyers who win a major jury verdict. The losers set out to control the appellate court which will hear the appeal by nominating and supporting a conservative lawyer, Ron Fisk, to win the election, formerly non-partisan, to the appellate court.

6.) The Broker – Joel Backman, a Washington power broker, sent to jail who is unexpectedly pardoned and sent out of the U.S.;

7.) The Last Juror – Lucien Wilbanks and Harry Rex Vonner are rural Mississippi lawyers though the main character is newspaper owner, Willie Traynor;

8.) The King of Torts – Clay Carter is a Washington D.C. legal aid lawyer who stumbles into mass tort litigation;

9.) The SummonsUniversity of Virginia law professor, Ray Atlee, returns home to rural Clanton, Mississippi where he deals with unexpected issues after the sudden death of his father, Judge Reuben V. Atlee;

10.) The Brethern – A trio of former judges, now in a Federal prison, plot scams from prison;

11.) The Testament – Nate O’Riley is a major litigation lawyer and recovering alcoholic searching for the heiress to a vast fortune and defending her father’s will;

12.) The Street Lawyer – Michael Brock is a Washington D.C. anti-trust lawyer in a big firm who joins a legal aid clinic to work for the homeless;

13.) The Partner – Patrick Lanigan is a junior partner in a Biloxi, Mississippi law firm aiding a client to defraud the federal government;

14.) The Runaway Jury - Wendall Rohr is the lawyer for the plaintiff in a major tobacco action in Biloxi, Mississippi while Durwood Cable acts for the defence. Rankin Fitch is the master manipulator and Nicholas Easter leads the runaway jury;

15.) The Rainmaker – Rudy Baylor is a new law school graduate who unexpectedly finds himself practising in Memphis with ambulance chaser, Bruiser Stone, and undertakes a major insurance bad faith case;

16.) The Chamber – Adam Hall is dispatched from a major Chicago law firm to act pro bono to try to save the life of Sam Cayhall. Hall is Cayhall’s grandson;

17.) The Client – Reggie Love is a former alcoholic in her own small practice in Memphis, Tennessee;

18.) The Pelican Brief – Darby Shaw is a Tulane University law student;

19.) The Firm – Mitchell Y. (Mitch) McGeer is a young Harvard law graduate lured to a Memphis law firm specializing in tax law;

20.) A Time to Kill – In the first legal mystery Jake Brigance is a white lawyer in the small town of Clanton in Ford County in Mississippi called to defend a black friend charged with murder.

I have read all 20 over the past 24 years, most before I started this blog. I have enjoyed Grisham's lawyers and will discuss them in my next post.


  1. Bill, I liked the way you featured some of Grisham's main lawyers in this post. Now I haven't ready every book by Grisham but I don't think he has repeated any of his fictional lawyers in his novels. Perhaps, he didn't want to stereotype his lead character lest it seem like a series. As a lawyer yourself, how close would you say his fictional lawyers are to those in real courtrooms or outside of it? Many thanks, Bill.

  2. Bill - It is interesting isn't it how many different kinds of lawyers Grisham has featured. They're all different and Grisham has given each of them a distinctive personality. To me, he'd put a real human face on the legal system and I like that.

  3. Prashant: Thanks for an interesting comment. Of Grisham's lawyers I find those lawyers who go to court "real". For those involved in lobbying and advocacy I am not as sure. I can see his trial lawyers in "real" courts.

  4. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I think Grisham has done more than any other writer of legal mysteries to show the breadth of the legal community.