Books by John A. Jenkins

THE PARTISAN by John A. Jenkins
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 2, 2012

"The Rehnquist legacy harshly gaveled down."
A much-awarded legal journalist serves up an investigative biography of the controversial, late chief justice. Read full book review >
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 1, 1992

Jenkins (The Litigators, 1989) offers a breezy, gossipy, and fast-paced treatment of the controversial divorce-lawyer's larger- than-life legal accomplishments and personal foibles. Marvin Mitchelson, long a renowned L.A. practitioner, achieved national fame when he represented Michelle Triola Marvin in her ``palimony'' suit against actor Lee Marvin. Jenkins relates how this case set an important and novel legal precedent that had a national impact on matrimonial law. He doesn't dwell on the arcana of divorce law, however, but devotes most of his account to Mitchelson's personal antics—brazen trial tactics, alleged sexual exploits with clients, drug abuse, financial difficulties, and problems with the California State Bar. Drawing on interviews with friends, adversaries, and clients, Jenkins loads his text with quotes, particularly from lengthy interviews with Mitchelson himself—who emerges as a complex man and a superb trial lawyer with a strong desire to be an insider in the heady social world of Hollywood. The constants of his public persona seem to be his demands for publicity and money, which he pursues by representing high-profile clients, winning high-stakes trials, arguing important appeals in the Supreme Court, and living an ostentatious life: Mitchelson is now as famous as the show-biz personalities he represents. A light, diverting, and evenhanded treatment of a modern legal celebrity. Read full book review >
Released: March 20, 1989

While it is common knowledge that the US is the world's most lawyered country, most don't realize that only ten percent of this nation's lawyers are trial lawyers. Of those, still fewer are involved in the multimillion-dollar judgments that are reported in the media. Here, journalist Jenkins focuses on six litigators who are involved in high-visibility, high-risk, and high-reward lawsuits. The lawyers profiled here are not household names such as F. Lee Bailey or Melvin Belli. The cases, however, were heavily reported, and it is Jenkins' contention that these major liability cases are won or lost in the media as well as in the courtroom. Thus, we see Mort Galane play to Las Vegas pride and paranoia in winning a $19 million libel verdict for Wayne Newton against NBC; we find out that John Coale, a specialist in mass disasters, spent much of his time dealing with the media in the US and India as he signed up clients to sue Union Carbide after the Bhopal disaster; and that tobacco companies spent a fortune on public relations in fighting suits by Marc Edell and others for damages in smoking-related deaths. Jenkins—who is not a lawyer—is comfortable with the legal principles involved in these cases. His special talent, however, is in writing about the lawyers themselves. Litigation of this nature requires a special combination of traits—bluster, bravado, total focus on winning, supreme self-confidence, and the willingness to march to one's own drummer. Though lacking a unifying theme, Jenkins' is a lucid, well-written, and altogether readable account of a very specialized and very special kind of lawyer. Read full book review >