Lindsey Carpenter's Reviews > The Litigators

The Litigators by John Grisham
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Mar 14, 12

Read in March, 2012

I've been reading John Grisham's legal thrillers since I was 12 years old. Always a precocious child, I enjoyed the legal tap dancing and quick wit. I'll note though, that having re-read books over the years, there's quite a bit of offbeat humor and nuance that I (thankfully) missed when I was younger! Nonetheless, I've enjoyed his writing for more than half of my life, and The Litigators certainly ranks as a new favorite.

With a wryly painted picture, and a lightheartedly satirical view, from which no members of the legal process are safe, we have The Litigators. Even the title itself is an irony, indicating that the main characters may actually be experienced at, well, litigating. After a slice-of-life view of the Finley & Figg Law Firm, a rather ostentatious title for a small operation, we open with a big-firm lawyer in the midst of a "snap" or nervous breakdown. After exiting the elevator at his workfloor, he quite literally dives back through the closing door at the last second, in an effort to find relief from the panic attack he's enduring. Thus begins the tale of David's journey as a depressed corporate lackey in a sweatshop firm to a content and happy third wheel of a two-man "boutique firm" in a rickety converted house, with partners who have failed the bar exam multiple times. It's a fascinating riches-to-rags story, not unlike The Street Lawyer, but with an upbeat, energetic spin that makes us root for David and his new pals at every turn, while laughing at the webs they tangle themselves up in.

The book is filled with sharp humor that literally makes one laugh out loud, and cracks are taken at everyone, from wealthy, jet-flying tort lawyers to unabashedly lower-caste ambulance chasers, even a legal malpractice lawyer (an odd breed, to be sure), as well as judges, corporations, even the plaintiffs. What's more though, is that we might as well be sitting in that courtroom, for the detail he pours into the scenery and fleshing out numerous personalities.

The great thing about The Litigators is that, after several years of Grisham testing his creative limits with "eh" books like Ford County and A Painted House, he is finally returning to the legal thriller genre he pioneered in the 90s. Those who love the cynical wittiness of The Rainmaker and the vivid characters of The Firm will feel the tones not only echoed, but reinvented in The Litigators.

Reading The Litigators feels like returning home. Grisham is back baby, and this fan is already excited for the next book.
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