LIFE AND LIMB by Robert Wallace


Email this review


While this is subtitled An Account of the Career of Melvin M. Belli, Personal-Injury Lawyer, it is actually a lively analysis of the current practices in personal-injury cases and damage suits. Belli is a San Francisco lawyer, a sort of Perry Mason in his field, whose techniques have been attacked by fellow lawyers as flamboyant, sensational, arrogant, petulant -- and a de luxe ambulance chasing. But he has raised the whole level of practice in such cases as medical malpractice, automobile accidents, defamation of character, railroad accidents, and so on. This is not a personal biography, actually, for the whole focus is on his career; and his handling of the steps from establishing the story through to giving the case to the Jury, is followed and illustrated with incident after incident in which his procedures have won phenomenal awards. It is Belli who stands out for the ""adequate award"" principle. He uses demonstrative evidence sensationally at times; he has changed the whole basis of admissable evidence; he has proved that even pain can be demonstrated. He is substituting the theory of ""comparative negligence"" for the dubious ""contributory negligence"". It is a fascinating inside picture of one of the biggest fields of court action today, and reads like a true crime story with Melvin M. Belli as central figure.

Publisher: Doubleday