Rogue Lawyer


In the picture of John Grisham on the cover of his books, he looks exactly as you would expect a lawyer to look, neatly dressed, well groomed, and reliable.  I suppose the picture represents the actual John Grisham and his behavior as a lawyer.  On the other hand publicity loving non-conformist Sebastian Rudd, the protagonist of Rogue Lawyer (published in 2015) may represent Grisham’s alter ego.  I imagine that Rudd is channeling Grisham’s inner pit bull, a persona that must exist to some extent in anyone who wants to be a trial lawyer.

Of course, one of the drawbacks of being a criminal defense lawyer is that most of your clients are not very nice people who are guilty of crimes.  In Rogue Lawyer we are introduced to four clients only two of whom are guilty, but either of those should be enough to make a sane person take up some other line of work (writing legal thrillers, perhaps).  One is an extremely violent and powerful crime boss who has a grudge against Rudd because his defense wasn’t successful.  The second is a sociopath who abducts young women for the sex trade and manages to cause serious trouble for the man he claims as his lawyer.

The two innocent clients give Grisham an opportunity to showcase some serious flaws in the administration of justice.  The first is the wrongful indictment of an unprepossessing young man for the murder of two little girls, because of small town prejudice and the incompetence of the local police and legal functionaries.  The second instance involves police violence leading to wrongful death of innocent citizens.

I’m a fan of the Grisham books with quirky protagonists, who are much more interesting to read about than staid lawyers (apologies to decent and respectable but boring lawyers).



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