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The Street Lawyer (1998)

by John Grisham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,62986782 (3.49)71
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. And a thief.… (more)
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English (75)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Grisham, John. The Street Lawyer. 1998. Bantam, 2005.
John Grisham is well-known for writing legal thrillers that highlight problems in our justice system and the legal profession. The Street Lawyer is a good example of what he can do. Michael is a fast-tracked lawyer in a big D.C. law firm. When a homeless man invades the firm’s offices and humiliates the lawyers for not helping the poor and homeless, Michael is drawn into an investigation of unfair evictions. His traumatic experience leads him to quit his job and go to work for a street law firm specializing in pro bono work for the homeless. The story illustrates how poorly our justice system protects the rights of the homeless. The system is geared toward helping those who pay for legal help, not those who can’t. The book makes us respect those who fight the uphill battle to protect the rights of the homeless and validate their worth as human beings. Note: The Street Lawyer should not be confused with Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer (2005), which is set in Los Angeles and features a lawyer who works out of his car and defends drug dealers and gangsters. Both are readable, though Connelly is more focused on action than the legal issues. 4 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Nov 24, 2021 |
The Street Lawyer deals with homeless people, and a lawyer who gave up his position in a major law firm, the high salary, and the perks to work for the poor and homeless for very low wages. The book takes a sympathetic view of the poor and downtrodden, and does makes the point that society could do more for the deserving poor. That may make some readers somewhat uncomfortable, especially those who feel that the majority of the homeless are in that situation due primarily to bad choices they've made. Grisham deals more with the others, those who have ended up in the streets due to unfortunate circumstances, or the inability to overcome being dealt a bad hand. You get a sense of some typical stereotypes, e.g., evil, greedy lawyers, corporate greed, ignoring the needs of the poorest around us, etc., but while not necessarily all universal truths, open minded readers will recognize that many of these symptoms do exist in society. The book won't make everyone feel more socially responsible, especially toward the homeless, but certainly will make most people readdress their own views, and open some eyes to the problems the poorest among us have to face.
( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Enjoyed it. Still relatable to this day in regards to homelessness and how society turns a blind eye to it. ( )
  MarCynStark | Jun 21, 2021 |
Grisham does know how to tell stories. He also is fond of crusading. He does both here.

Michael Brock, on the fast track to big bucks in a large legal firm, has an epiphany after being held hostage by a homeless man who calls himself "Mister". First, Michael is curious about what Mister really wanted. He does not believe the homeless man would have hurt anyone. Just a few inquiries makes him more curious.

He meets Mordecai Green, lead lawyer of a firm that assists homeless persons for free, and he follows him around to various shelters and other assistive organizations, learning what issues homeless persons face and what kinds of help are effective. Meanwhile, he finds anonymous notes that lead him to a file in his firm, a file that tells the story that led Mister to his actions. He makes a decision to copy the file, and this decision sends him on a course of action that changes his life forever.

So Brock becomes a "street lawyer", making much less than he was previously, and about to lose his marriage as well. And things really heat up. We can admire him for not questioning his decisions, even though he does look back in wonder. I think most of us would second-guess ourselves at least once.

It's a lively book, and Brock is a character we can get behind. A satisfying, if unrealistic, journey. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
I remember reading John Grisham's first novel not long after it came out. I was sucked in with the first sentence and enjoyed every last word of it. I've enjoyed some of his others nearly as much but not until Street Lawyer have I been able to repeat the same wonderful experience. This is the kind of story I like - a very compelling plot, beautifully told, full of characters that are vivid and as flawed as not. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Grishamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Salojärvi, HeikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szulc, AndrzejTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The man with the rubber boots stepped into the elevator behind me, but I didn't see him at first.
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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. And a thief.

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