Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Legal Thrillers Lead the Way

Posted by Maggie on January 29, 2008

Lawyers either love legal thrillers or loathe them. (Same with Law & Order. Watched it in law school–often throwing in my own objections–but rarely since I started practicing.) I admit I’m susceptible to a quick read now and then, especially on an airplane. But I’ve been staunchly anti-Grisham for the last several years. His latest works are mostly not legal, but the ones that have been are rather dismal. (And I tend to prefer Steve Martini, partly because his courtroom stuff is usually pretty on.) Legal thrillers in general are pretty wretched these days, and mostly written by former prosecutors and tend to be about prosecutors and cops, which isn’t as fun when you’re a defense attorney.

However, the word on the street is that Grisham’s new novel is quite good. And it’s a pretty scathing attack on the idea of elected judges. Set in Mississippi (I know Grisham is a southerner, but he certainly does a good job of prolonging the idea of political corruption in the South), it focuses on the idea of rigging judicial elections to favor certain interests. I’ll probably getting around to reading it at some point, but I found myself wondering if this will throw the judicial election issue into the public eye. It’s the kind of issue that needs to be examined with more clarity and there’s nothing like popular outcry and concern to do that. Popular fiction has done it before, and despite any of my personal tastes, I’m hoping Grisham can get this issue out in the open.

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