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Book Review – The Litigators by John Grisham

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Book Description:

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom! It almost seems too good to be true. And it is.

The Litigators is a tremendously entertaining romp, filled with the kind of courtroom strategies, theatrics, and suspense that have made John Grisham America’s favorite storyteller.


A tremendously entertaining romp” indeed! That describes John Grisham’s latest  The Litigators to a T. I can’t recall the last time I had so much fun reading a John Grisham book, but with his latest, Grisham definitely pushed all the right buttons for me. I practically inhaled this in one sitting (and laughing like a maniac every now and then to boot!) Don’t expect a hard-boiled courtroom thriller (even though tort case(s) do figure strongly in the story) – The Litigators doesn’t take itself seriously at all – it’s funny, satirical, almost fairy-tale like, really, just with lawyers.

32-year-old David Zinc is a bit too young to be having a midlife crisis, but in one memorable day, he quits his highly paid (if life-energy draining) job as an international finance law associate at the high-flying lawfirm Rogan Rothberg to stumble onto a new life as a rookie street lawyer at the “boutique firm’ of Finley & Figg (starring the already quietly defeated Oscar Finley and his still defiantly scrappy / dreamy partner Wally Figg). Idealistic David’s new digs at work may be a bit of dump, but he does get a new lease in his life (and at least his wife is amazingly supportive). Before you can say boo, however, Finley, Figg and Zinc find themselves in line for a  potentially huge windfall, riding the coat-tails of a torts lawsuit against the big Pharma company Varrick whose billion $$$ cholesterol drug may (or may not) be killing people. The objective : reach a settlement without ever stepping foot in the courtroom. The problem :  nothing goes as planned and Finley, Figg and Zinc are suddenly in way over their heads. And that’s when the fun starts 🙂

I loved the front row seats we got as Grisham shows us how a big class-action suit unfolds, but the heart and soul of the book for me were his wonderfully flawed characters. No one is really the big bad here, and everyone has a kernel of likability. Stealing the show was the hopeless gold-pot-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow-chasing Wally who crashes and burns (repeatedly) in spectacular fashion, but of course, given that this is a Grisham book, it’s the idealistic genuinely good-hearted David who carries the day in the end (in a very satisfying way too!).

With The Litigators, I feel good about being a Grisham fan again, and I really recommend this as a fun, light and humorous read with a lot of heart. Grisham obviously didn’t take himself too seriously while writing this, so let’s just enjoy this in the spirit it’s offered! If you ever enjoyed any of Grisham’s work in the past, don’t miss this one. If you’ve never read Grisham, this is a good place to start 🙂

(P.S. Please let this be a movie in the near future! I have in mind John Cusack as David, Nathan Lane as Wally, Alec Baldwin as Oscar – what about you?)

The Litigators by John Grisham (Doubleday) is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition, Hardcover edition, Paperback edition and Audible audio edition.

The eBook is also available at B&N, Apple iBooks, Kobo books

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