The Lawyer’s Lawyer by James Sheehan is a novel set in present day Florida. Mr. Sheehan works at Stetson University in Tampa, Florida, and teaches law.
Jack Tobin, one of the best lawyers in the United States, takes it upon himself to represent a serial killer that he believes to be innocent. The citizens of the town of Oakville are outraged, the Chief of Police is angry and the district attorney is out to get Jack.
The criminal justice system as a whole is not too happy either.
The novel was a delight to read. I got this book a few months ago, but just picked it up and finished it in about two days.
While there are several directions the book pulls the reader towards, the real strength lays in the courtroom drama, which Mr. Sheehan so eloquently brings to life. I’ll even go further and say that the discussion the lawyers had while approaching the bench were some of the most interesting, fascinating conversation I’ve read in this genre.
The author did a great job telling the story while staying away from many technical terms (“legalese”) and if used, explaining them almost immediately. The narrative is smooth and eloquent, which makes for an easy read despite the setting.
If I’ve a criticism, it is that the protagonist is too perfect. He is rich, retired in fact, and only represent clients for charity. Jack is also volatile, which makes the reader wonder how he became not only a successful lawyer, but a “lawyer’s lawyer” – the one lawyers themselves call when they get in trouble. The reader is reminded much too often about what a good person Jack is and how selfless he is that it seems unbelievable at times.
Nonetheless, Mr. Sheehan did a fantastic job. The legal battles between the judge, the defense and the district attorney bring the story to life and reminds the reader that a trial is not necessarily about the accused.
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