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.
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