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The Street Lawyer by John Grisham
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The Street Lawyer (original 1998; edition 1999)

by John Grisham

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6,107None667 (3.44)32
Member:sunnydrk
Title:The Street Lawyer
Authors:John Grisham
Info:Bantam Books (1999), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Street Lawyer by John Grisham (1998)

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
A lawyer with a big firm learns about the homeless and ends up leaving his job to defend them. He steals a file from his old firm and learns of the wrongs done to some homeless. A good book that makes you think about what should be done. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Feb 3, 2014 |
Amazon.com Review John Grisham is back with his latest courtroom conundrum, The Street Lawyer. This time the lord of legal thrillers dives deep into the world of the homeless, particularly their barely audible legal voice in a world dominated by large, all-powerful law firms. Our hero, Michael Brock, is on the fast track to partnership at D.C.'s premier law firm, Sweeny & Drake. His dream of someday raking in a million-plus a year is finally within reach. Nothing can stop him, not even 90-hour workweeks and a failing marriage--until he meets DeVon Hardy, a.k.a. "Mister," a Vietnam vet with a grudge against his landlord--and a few lawyers to fry. Hardy, with no clear motive, takes Brock and eight of his colleagues hostage in a boardroom, demanding their tax returns and interrogating them with a conviction that would have put perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition to shame. Hardy, a man of few words and a lot of ammunition, mumbles cryptically, "Who are the evictors?" as he points a .44 automatic within inches of Brock's face. The violent outcome of the hostage situation triggers an abrupt soul-searching for the young lawyer, and Hardy's mysterious question continues to haunt him. Brock learns that Hardy had been in and out of homeless shelters most of his life, but he had recently begun paying rent in a rundown building; that means he has legal recourse when a big money-making outfit such as Sweeny & Drake boots him with no warning. When Brock realizes that his profession caters to the morally challenged, he sets out on an aimless search through the dicier side of D.C., ending up at the 14th Street Legal Clinic. The clinic's director, a gargantuan man named Mordecai Green, woos Brock to the clinic with a $90,000 cut in pay and the chance to redeem his soul. Brock takes it--and some of the story's credibility along with it; it's hard to believe that a Yale graduate who sacrificed everything--including his marriage--to succeed in the legal profession would quickly jump at the opportunity for low-paying, charitable work. However, Brock's search for corruption in the swanky upper echelons of Sweeny & Drake (via the toughest streets of D.C.) is filled with colorful characters and realistic, gritty descriptions. In the The Street Lawyer, Grisham once again defends the voiceless and powerless. In the words of Mordecai Green, "That's justice, Michael. That's what street law is all about. Dignity." From Publishers Weekly America's most popular author is arguably its most popular crusader as well, tilting his pen against myriad targets, including big law (The Firm, etc.), big tobacco (The Runaway Jury), big insurance (The Rainmaker) and now, in perhaps his sweetest, shortest novel, against anyone, big or little, who treats the homeless as less than human. The expected powerhouse opening involves the hostage-taking?by an armed, homeless man who calls himself Mister?of nine attorneys of a huge law firm headquartered in D.C. Among the nine is narrator Michael Brock, an antitrust lawyer who receives a faceful of blood when a police sniper blows away Mister's head. "I'm alive! I'm alive," Michael cries like Ebenezer Scrooge, but, like Scrooge, this greedy hotshot is ripe for a moral awakening. The next day, Michael visits the shabby offices of Mister's attorney, Mordecai Green, who explains that Mister and others had been illegally evicted from makeshift housing on orders from a real-estate development company represented by Michael's firm. Inspired by Green and shaken by his firm's complicity, Michael volunteers at a homeless shelter. When a family he meets there dies on the street, and turns out to have been among the evictees, Michael quits his job, goes to work for Green and, using as evidence a file he steals from the firm, aims to sue his former employer on behalf of the evictees. In turn, the firm places Michael in its crosshairs, pressuring him to give up the file through legal maneuvers, having him arrested and hints of darker means. The cat-and-mouse between Michael and the firm is vintage Grisham, intricately plotted, but the emphasis in this smoothly told, baldly manipulative tale is less on action and suspense, which are moderate, than on Michael's change of heart and moving exploration of the world of the homeless. Dickens would be well pleased, and so will Grisham's fans. 2.8 million first printing.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
I know that John Grisham's legal thrillers shouldn't be approached expecting literary fireworks, but nonetheless, I was very disappointed in this book. The street lawyer presents a dichotomy in the legal profession between big firm lawyers who bill at $300 an hour, interact with only corporations and lust after money and poverty lawyers who don't care about money and are selfless advocates for the poor. This leaves out the large majority of small to medium firm attorneys who help people with mundane tasks like divorcing, writing a will, adjusting child support or getting reparations for an injury. This type of lawyer wants to help people, but also has to make some money to support themselves and their families. I felt like the two categories Grisham sets up in this book felt false. Also false, I felt, was the main character's continual dwelling on his whiteness when interacting with the poor and homeless. He was always referencing his fear being the only white face or his feeling of being out of place. I understand that Grisham was trying to reflect the thoughts of someone who had lived a relatively cushy existence suddenly being thrust into a world different from his own. However, I found it unbelievable that someone who has gone all the way through law school and lives in the very mixed city of Washington D.C. would have never before reflected on issues of race.
Usually the one thing that you can depend on in a Grisham book is an interesting plot that speeds along. Even that was lacking in this book. A lot of the threads never seem to come together and the climax that resolves the conflict between the main character's two legal worlds fizzles. If someone is looking for a Grisham book that reflects a more realistic portrayal of the law and still offers a zippy plot, I would recommend The Appeal. ( )
  elmoelle | Aug 9, 2013 |
Attorney Michael Brock of Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm with eight hundred lawyers, was involved in a violent encounter with a homeless man,Michael survived, DeVon "Mister" Hardy, the homeless man, did not. Michael did some digging and learned that his assailant was a mentally ill veteran that was living in an abandoned building. Mike quit the law firm to take practice as a poverty lawyer for the homeless, prociding to uncover facts that proved that the homeless people living in that building were illegally evicted from property, they were paying rent therefore they were not squatters but renters and had rights before eviction into the streets. ( )
  Gatorhater | Jun 26, 2013 |
* Inherited from Mum's shelves.
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385339097, Paperback)

John Grisham is back with his latest courtroom conundrum, The Street Lawyer. This time the lord of legal thrillers dives deep into the world of the homeless, particularly their barely audible legal voice in a world dominated by large, all-powerful law firms. Our hero, Michael Brock, is on the fast track to partnership at D.C.'s premier law firm, Sweeny & Drake. His dream of someday raking in a million-plus a year is finally within reach. Nothing can stop him, not even 90-hour workweeks and a failing marriage--until he meets DeVon Hardy, a.k.a. "Mister," a Vietnam vet with a grudge against his landlord--and a few lawyers to fry. Hardy, with no clear motive, takes Brock and eight of his colleagues hostage in a boardroom, demanding their tax returns and interrogating them with a conviction that would have put perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition to shame. Hardy, a man of few words and a lot of ammunition, mumbles cryptically, "Who are the evictors?" as he points a .44 automatic within inches of Brock's face. The violent outcome of the hostage situation triggers an abrupt soul-searching for the young lawyer, and Hardy's mysterious question continues to haunt him. Brock learns that Hardy had been in and out of homeless shelters most of his life, but he had recently begun paying rent in a rundown building; that means he has legal recourse when a big money-making outfit such as Sweeny & Drake boots him with no warning. When Brock realizes that his profession caters to the morally challenged, he sets out on an aimless search through the dicier side of D.C., ending up at the 14th Street Legal Clinic. The clinic's director, a gargantuan man named Mordecai Green, woos Brock to the clinic with a $90,000 cut in pay and the chance to redeem his soul. Brock takes it--and some of the story's credibility along with it; it's hard to believe that a Yale graduate who sacrificed everything--including his marriage--to succeed in the legal profession would quickly jump at the opportunity for low-paying, charitable work. However, Brock's search for corruption in the swanky upper echelons of Sweeny & Drake (via the toughest streets of D.C.) is filled with colorful characters and realistic, gritty descriptions. In the The Street Lawyer, Grisham once again defends the voiceless and powerless. In the words of Mordecai Green, "That's justice, Michael. That's what street law is all about. Dignity."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:07 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A corporate lawyer in Washington goes to war against his own company to defend the homeless. It happens after Michael Brock is abducted by a homeless man and held hostage. The homeless man is killed by a police sharpshooter and the lawyer is rescued, but the experience changes his life. 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 with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney. The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed in the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer.… (more)

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