TRIAL AND ERROR by D. Michael Tomkins


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Young law school grad moves to Seattle in 1972. Interviews with the big law firms, gets nowhere. Buys large, lovable St. Bernard and names him Prosser (like the famous torts professor). Walks Prosser in the park and meets people who become clients--little stuff at first, car accidents, that sort of thing. Scrapes together enough cash to rent a tiny office with exposed pipes, but next door to the county bar association referral service. Hits modest paydirt with a personal injury suit and hires a secretary, an older woman. Dislikes her at first for messing with his laid-back accounting system (""Uh. . . I don't bill people. I mean, I don't do it with pieces of paper at the end of the month or anything""), but as time goes on finds she's a gem. Meets young female veterinarian who patches up Prosser after a car smash. Expands his practice, and faces Moral Dilemmas. (Should he represent Willie, the child molester? What about those guys who make the head-shop products?) Takes in an old law school chum as an associate, then fights with him over ethics (""So you think a fat retainer is respectable but a gut feeling and a hope that I'll get paid down the line makes me a sleaze?""). Loses vet girlfriend to the Yerkes Primate Center but Takes It Like a Man (""I kissed her. 'Congratulations. Those apes won't know what hit them'""), looks toward Tomorrow, and writes uncalled-for autobiography. If all this sounds flat in the telling, that's exactly how it reads: little interest even for law-practice buffs.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1981
Publisher: Dodd, Mead