Are you reading about the great lawyers who practiced law before you?
I was inspired to become a lawyer and I was inspired to become a better lawyer when I read about the great lawyers from the past and present. I am not sure young lawyers are doing it today. So, I wanted to recommend some books for you.
- The Story of My Life–Clarence Darrow’s Autobiography: It was the first book about a lawyer I read and truly inspired me to become a lawyer.
- Final Verdict–Adela Rogers St. Johns biography of her father Earl Rogers-He was a better trial lawyer drunk than most who were sober. He defended Clarence Darrow in a case. I loved her writing.
- The Defense Never Rests– F. Lee Baily’s autobiography-This was the first book I read about a trial lawyer who was still alive and I would later see as part of the OJ defense team.
- My Life in Court and Reflections Without Mirrors–Louis Nizer’s Autobiographies: Great stories of his most famous trials. Louis Nizer also wrote The Implosion Conspiracy about his defense of the Rosenbergs.
- Melvin Belli: My life on trial– Melvin Belli’s autobiography: If nothing else his story of going to Europe with Errol Flynn after successfully defending him is priceless. That trip cost Belli his first of many marriages. You can read a little about his 5 marriages in this People Magazine article: Melvin (the King of Torts) Belli Was the Knave of Hearts Until Lia Triff Became His Fifth Queen.
- Edward Bennett Williams for the Defense-Robert Pack’s biography of Edward Bennett Williams, the Washington, DC trial lawyer.
- Final Justice: The True Story of the Richest Man Ever Tried for Murder-one of the books about Richard Racehorse Haynes miraculous defenses of Cullen Davis.
- Gerry Spence: Gunning for Justice–Gerry Spence’s autobiography. I learned a great deal about trying cases from this book and others by Gerry Spence.
I am not sure if it is a generational thing, or just me, but when I read these books, I felt like I was right there in the courtroom watching some of the most famous trial lawyers of the 20th century .
One last thing: If you are a trial lawyer and want to read about famous trials, like many tried by the lawyers mentioned above, you must go to professor Douglas Linder’s Famous Trials website. Every trial lawyer will find something inspiring there.