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The Street Lawyer

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  94,979 ratings  ·  2,242 reviews
Michael was in a hurry. He was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm with eight hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience.

But a violent encounter wi
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by Bantam (first published February 16th 1998)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  94,979 ratings  ·  2,242 reviews

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Bill  Kerwin
Oct 11, 2008 rated it liked it

An entertaining thriller from John Grisham, this is also an excellent introduction to the plight of the homeless on the streets of D.C.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Street Lawyer, John Grisham
The Street Lawyer is a legal thriller novel by John Grisham. It was Grisham's ninth novel. The book was released in the United States on 1 January 1998, published by Bantam Books, and on 30 March 1998 in the UK, published by Century. A homeless man, identifying himself only as "Mister," enters the offices of the powerful Washington D.C. law firm Drake & Sweeney and takes many of the lawyers hostage while angrily demanding information about some kind of eviction
Aug 01, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: r_fiction
Prosperous people should feel guilty because there are homeless people in our cities. That is the main message in this Grisham novel.

In the book are perfectly normal people who become homeless because they are down on their luck. Strangely, no mention is made of the primary sources of homelessness: drugs and mental illness. No, according to The Street Lawyer, the problem of homlessness is caused by the selfish prosperity of our country.

Besides the misled preachiness of the story, it's also rath
S.P. Aruna
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-mystery
One of Grisham's most inspirational novels, and among those that turned me into a Grisham fan.

It is clear that the author was disturbed by the plight of the homeless and decided he would write a fictional vehicle to raise awareness of this problem. What makes the story more striking is the contrast presented by the protagonist's own affluence, and the price he must keep to maintain it.

The story starts out with a bang, literally, an event so traumatic that the main character, Michael Brock, is fo
Natalie Vellacott
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, john-grisham
I am re-reading some old John Grisham books that I enjoyed the first time round to see if my perspectives have changed in 10-15 years...

The Street Lawyer was a favourite in the past. It tells the story of Michael, a wealthy lawyer climbing the ladder at a prosperous firm, Drake and Sweeney. His marriage is in trouble but he surrounds himself with work, competing with his soon to be ex-wife. Who is the most ambitious and who will earn the most money? But in a dramatic turn of events, Michael find
People here claiming a white upper class lawyer (from Yale remember) in the 1990s is racist because he (Michael Brock, the character remember, not the author John Grisham) noted how basketball was popular and Washington D.C. jails and juries would be majority black, need to have their SJW cards revoked and get off their high horse and soapboxes.

It continues to amaze me the incompetence of readers and lacking insight and nuance.

If you can't handle facts even today in your snowflakey world then
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book didn't feel like your typical Grisham courtroom drama, it just had a different feel to it, but in a good way.

The Street Lawyer takes place in Washington DC, Michael Brock is working for a big law firm that pays big money. Until one day a homeless man enters the firm and takes Brock and many other lawyers hostage. The police take out the suspect, but afterword's Michael discovers something going on in the very firm he's been working for. So Brock has a change of heart, he quits the fir
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Not only does one of the most admirable characters I've ever come across, it has a meaningful moral lesson thrown in for good measure.
Rebecca McNutt
Much more than the average legal thriller, The Street Lawyer sheds light on not only the stigma of mental illness, but also on the corruption of law and justice.
Nov 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
Boring. Preachy. Heartbreaking. Disgusting.

What was particularly disgusting was the protagonist's racism. There were remarks about a jury consisting of "12 black faces" ('cause there can't possibly be any white people in DC, right?) and the incredulous thought "a handsome white boy thrown in the pit!" and "the shoes in question were old Nike cross-trainers. They were not basketball shoes, and should not have appealed to [him.]" (because ALL black people play basketball, right?) Ugh.

Michael Bro
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I personally have become a recent fan of John Grisham’s book and to any of those fans out there, this is a book that will not disappoint you. Even for those who aren’t John Grisham fans, this book is a must read. Grisham captures the life of the impoverished and needy in downtown D.C. and he shows how the law treats different class’s different ways. This book is not only a page turner but a fast page turner. I found myself rushing at times, anxious to read on and discover more about this mysteri ...more
Mar 08, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think Grisham should always write in the first-person. His stories are livelier and more realistic from the first-person perspective. This novel is somewhere in the middle of his works, and it shows signs of becoming formulaic, but it still feels fairly fresh. The only reason that I'm giving it three stars and not four is that I didn't appreciate the racism implicit in ideas about homelessness in Washington D.C. Obviously, facts are facts, but there is a way to handle them without being sided ...more
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“Privileged people don't march and protest; their world is safe and clean and governed by laws designed to keep them happy.”
--J. Grisham, The Street Lawywer


The novel is very idealistic, it's about a rich lawyer trying to find the purpose of his job- as an attorney.
-It describes a life of a RICH LAWYER WITH A CONSCIENCE.

It's always my dream to be a lawy
Jay Schutt
With this being a John Grisham novel I had better expectations for it. It was slow in developing and moved kind of slow and methodically for me. The ending came rather quickly, but finished up with a good message and a feel-good ending.
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another JG masterpiece....Sometimes tense, sometimes heartwarming, always a page turner. The setting is Washington D.C. (the district) with focus on an old and very large, prestegious D.C. law firm. One of the staff, young attorney Michael Brock, is onto the firm's misbehavior and does some digging on his own. His actions are not without potentially severe consequences as well. Michael, who will soon be going through his own divorce, seeks counsel from the local 'homeless' lawyer's office.
His li
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it
3 measly stars compared to what it could have been.


First off, I think this would have been a great book, not great as in ‘gonna be a classic one day’ or a ‘bookshelf must have’, but great as in ‘an abrupt reality check right up close and personal’. But it wasn’t. What put me off was:

1. Michael’s apparent racism which Candice, a fellow goodreads reviewer, had aptly put it:

What was particularly disgusting was the protagonist's racism. There were remarks about a jury consisting of "12
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first Grisham novel. I really enjoyed it!
Huma Khan
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite authors is John Grisham. His books are one of the reasons that I decided to study Law for my degree. Even though his portrayal of the law and the job that comes with it is slightly exaggerated and intense, I believe there is truth behind his novels. He is an American lawyer specialising in Criminal law. This is evident within his novels as he is best known for his legal thrillers. I have read the majority of his books and out of all of them, The Street Lawyer has by far been ...more
Daniel Bastian
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Equal parts sobering and illuminating, The Street Lawyer was my first introduction to Grisham. (I tend to avoid household names; just below the mainstream is where I feel most at home.) Nevertheless, I was mightily impressed with this mid-career novel of his (1998) and the social concerns it raises.

The story, set in D.C., follows Michael Brock, a Big-firm attorney who finds himself in the right place at the wrong time. He and his colleagues are taken hostage in their own office suite by a derang
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100-pages, owns
I started to like this book because it is fun to watch people choose roads less travelled, fighting for something truly valuable and finding themselves, their true calling.

However, this book felt a bit dragging.
Oct 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
If I had to describe "The Street Lawyer" in one word, the word I would choose is propaganda.

It tells the tale of a yuppie lawyer named Michael Brock who reorders his priorities in life after he's held hostage by a homeless man for an afternoon. He quits his high-paying job even though he's only a couple of years from making partner - and goes to work for a free legal clinic that helps the homeless. He thinks his old firm was partially responsible for the deaths of a homeless family, so he commit
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read a few of Grisham's early books years ago (The Firm, A Time To Kill) and thought they were, for the most part, formulaic legal fiction. I wouldn't normally have picked up another one of his novels,but years ago I read a short article he wrote for a high school magazine about how he researched The Street Lawyer, and I was intrigued. I finally grabbed the book last week and read it over the weekend. Standard fare for a Grisham novel: a young lawyer going up against a corrupt, powerful legal ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trudee Hunter
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lawyer with a conscience? A Homeless man with a message? A law firm held to ransom? So much drama and so effectively told. We are taken quite brutally into the uncomfortable, compelling, and ugly world of homelessness which for manifold reasons exist in ever-increasing numbers in cities all around the world. Michael Brock is a man of character; a man who discovers he cannot live with who he thought he was, following a frightening hold up in his office. He witnesses the fear, disbelief and horr ...more
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, fiction
WOW! I loved this book!! But for more reasons than the story itself. Published in 1998, before the current financial collapse, Grisham based this story around the homeless. If the homeless population was bad then, I can only imagine what it is presently. People in general look at the homeless as lazy and uneducated not worthy of their time or money. Nothing could be farther than the truth. The government talks a good talk but spends more money fighting the issue rather than helping.

I loved Micha
Iman Danial Hakim
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A big shot young lawyer leaving behind one hell of a fortune - from a million dollar antitrust lawyer to a mere thousands dollar street lawyer- to fight for the betterment of homeless. The story couldn't be better!

Monica Willyard Moen
Outstanding! I couldn’t put it down.
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I was hooked from the start and read the first 1/3 in the first go.
This book talks about some of the issues of homelessness and it gives you a lot of food for thought.
Highly recommend reading this to everyone
When I started dating my non-reader boyfriend, I pushed him for books he had read and enjoyed so I could read them too. This was the book he chose to mention. He's not my boyfriend anymore, Nuff' said.
Edmond Gagnon
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think I expected a little more from Grisham, but there was nothing wrong with this book. I gives you a scary look at the homeless people that are all around us. Good characters in a very good story.
A good read!
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"Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of
“I didn't dare think of the future; the past was still happening.” 104 likes
“Privileged people don't march and protest; their world is safe and clean and governed by laws designed to keep them happy.” 31 likes
More quotes…