Law in Popular Culture

Attorney & Best-Selling Author Phillip Margolin Still Starts His Day Early

A criminal defense lawyer for 25 years, Phillip Margolin still goes to the office every day in Portland, Ore., at 7:30 a.m. Except now, as a best-selling author of legal thrillers, he is there to work on his current book.

His latest, Executive Privilege, is just out, focusing on a private eye who is following a young woman who just happens to turn up dead after a secret meeting with the president of the United States and an associate attorney in a big Oregon firm working on an appeal in a related criminal case. Margolin says the hardest part of writing is getting a good idea, and after that, it’s all about staying the course and getting the job done, reports Reuters.

At the same time, though, it’s important not to rush, he tells the news agency, when asked what advice he would offer to aspiring writers.

“If you get an idea the natural instinct is to get excited and start writing. I say put it away, work out an outline and an ending first,” Margolin suggests, noting that it took another best-selling attorney and author, Scott Turow, 12 years to write Presumed Innocent as he rode the train to and from work in Chicago.

“The other thing is to do an outline. Work out the book completely before you write so you won’t get writer’s block. And be organized,” Margolin continues. “People think authors get up at 10 and get a snifter of brandy and pull out a quill pen and let inspiration come. That is not how it works.”

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