- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 33 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: October 25, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005ZAYBDC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Litigators Audiobook – Unabridged
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"The Litigators" is the first Grisham book I've had fun reading in a long time. I get the feeling he had fun writing this one. We meet grouchy Oscar Finley and plucky, unethical Wally Figg, partners at Finley & Figg. These are some humorous, annoying, even likable guys scraping to make a living through any client and situation possible. They're propped up a the tough secretary. They're bottom feeders. Along comes David Zinc, who can no longer stomach the hundred-hour work weeks at a legal firm where 600 other lawyers are employed. He goes off the rails, decides to check out one fine morning, and ends up drunk hours later on the steps at the ignoble Finley & Figg. Despite his recent bender, he's actually a guy who loves his wife, albeit not always well, and still retains some ethical and legal standards, since he's not yet stepped foot into a court or heard the way things go down between a rascally attorney and a leering judge.
With Finley & Figg adding Zinc to their recipe, the mixture bubbles over. Figg stumbles into a potentially huge torts lawsuit against a pharmaceutical manufacturer (while scraping for clients at a funeral home, no less), and he starts signing up other clients (ones who are alive, thank goodness). In his enthusiasm, he drags along Zinc and senior partner Finley, eventually landing their tiny firm in court against a formidable armada of attorneys.
As I whipped through the pages, I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion--and for all the right reasons this time. Grisham gives us some great characters, three-dimensional, likable, understandable, despicable, and everything in between. This is the Grisham I remember, one who was passionate, even fiery, but who also loved people and never forgot they were the driving force in his stories. Something has shifted. That fire is back. And this is easily my favorite Grisham in years.
I enjoyed this book on many levels. I work in Chicago for Litigators, not the low-level "boutique" firm of Finley and Figg but a mid-sized prominent defense firm which gave me an advantage in terms of legalese and the procedures. I could not identify with Oscar Finn, the aging attorney, who felt he wasted the last 30 years with this crummy practice or Wally Figg, a drunk who is chasing the big pot of gold and will pull almost anything to sign up a client. However, I have met many David Zinc's, the burnt-out bright attorney who knows he cannot stand one more 100 hour week of entering billable hours for his cold-hearted large firm.
Grisham recaptured the heroes of his earlier books in David Zinc. We first meet David when he is enduring a full-fledged panic attack, as he is about to begin another day at the Rogan Rothberg 600 attorney firm. After losing all control, David spends the rest of his soul-searching day in a neighborhood bar and later he drunkenly washes up at the doorstep of Finn & Figg. David teams up with these low-level guys and begins to learn their ropes and seizes the moment. He is a good man with a beautiful, smart wife, Helen. He does not cut corners and uses his own money to help and investigate a horrific injury to a Burmese boy. In this case, Grisham aims his anger at American toy companies who have bought Chinese toy manufacturers that apparently manufacture lead poisoning rather than safe toys.
Suffice it to say, Grisham was able to neatly include the mistreatment of illegal immigrants, the hypocrisy of the drug companies (Varrick Drugs is the chief antagonist), the frauds who will try anything to cheat someone out of money, product liability law and the real victims. The main culprit is mass tort litigation where the victims remain victims while the plaintiff and defense lawyers reap the millions. Grisham slows David's progress but the reader knows that this Harvard grad is really smart and when he can understand the particular law, Federal court and how to litigate, we know he will be a star. Through it all, David is a good friend and a reputable attorney (despite Wally's influence). One of my favorite scenes takes place when David explains his new career to his father, a judge in Minnesota. Expecting the judge to be of no use or patience, his response is not volatile. Later, we learn his father taught David the moralities of the court decisions.
Grisham has crafted an entertaining book, once again. Some parts were totally unbelievable and he gave the reader almost every character imaginable: the slovenly ex-wife looking to score big in a lawsuit, the beautiful, sexy defense attorney (Nadine) for the drug company, sarcastic but loyal secretary (Rochelle) to Oscar and Wally, the bartender who has heard it all (Abner's), and of course, the insurance companies who will continue to profit win or lose. The reader prevails in this clever tale; it's a fun page-turner that really does not insult one's intelligence. Setting the story in Chicago, of course, adds to the lack of civility and no holes barred zingers. However, he had several errors regarding Chicago areas and neighborhoods. These would be quite obvious to a Chicagoan. He needed a native Chicago editor! 4.5 stars
This book starts out slow, picks up a little steam during the trial, but never came close to getting to the point where I "couldn't put it down." In fact, my only interest in reading it quickly was so I could get through it and move on to something else. The characters are generally lackluster in terms of generating interest, and the story line is predictable and anticlimactic. All in all, a second straight disappointing effort by a terrific writer. I would take a pass.