THE LITIGATORS by John A. Jenkins


Inside the Powerful World of American Lawyers
Email this review


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.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1989
ISBN: 385-24408-8
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online: