A review of The Litigators, by John Grisham
@@@@ (4 out of 5)
If you’re a John Griisham fan, as I am, you’ll probably be surprised at how many chuckles and guffaws his latest novel forces out of you. The Litigators, on one level a legal procedural like so many other Grisham works, is also a comedy. Even the title is a joke, as you’ll learn once you’ve made your way into the meat of this book.
Grisham’s protagonist is 31-year-old David Zinc, a Harvard Law graduate who has slaved away for five years as an associate in one of the country’s largest and most sought-after law firms. He makes $300K per year, but still: for 90 hours a week writing bonds to make rich people richer, that’s not a fortune. David finally snaps one day and, in a drunken stupor, makes his way to the misbegotten firm of Finley & Figg, a couple of ambulance-chasers (and worse) whose office is next door to a massage parlor. There, he demands that they hire him — which they proceed to do, on terms entirely favorable to themselves, of course.
Working as an associate with Wally Figg and Oscar Finley, David somehow finds himself embroiled in their personal lives as well as in the extraordinary complexity of a mass tort case that Wally has impulsively joined. The main plot that ensues engages this threesome — none of whom has ever before set foot in a Federal courtroom — in a massive lawsuit against the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world over a drug called Krayoxx.
Grisham’s pronounced social conscience comes through clearly in his treatment of the drug’s alleged victims, of the company that manufactures it, and of the expensive law firm it has hired: David’s ex-employer.
The Litigators is a joy to read from start to finish. It’s another example of Grisham’s fluid writing and solid characterization, and an introduction to the sense of humor that is hidden is most of his previous work.