Opening Statements

Lawyers Lex

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Now that summer’s really over—and so is Harry Potter—it’s time to move away from that top 10 list of best-sellers and curl up with these equally engaging titles. And because every author’s also a J.D., each book is brimming with insider elements only a lawyer could love:

Lying with Strangers

By James Grippando (HarperCollins, $24.95)

Bursting open with a hospital scene straight out of TV’s E.R., the action—and the deftly paced plot twists—don’t stop until the final gunshot. James Grippando, a former trial attorney in Florida, certainly has the formula down by now. This is his 13th book, but his first since 2001 not to feature detective Jack Swyteck.

Don’t spend too long wondering how protagonist Dr. Peyton Shields comes to be coveted by not one but two seriously evil stalkers—just keep reading and enjoy the ride.

Law factor: Moderate. Shields’ husband is a lawyer, and there’s a criminal trial (complete with a sinister prosecutor) and a brief grand jury scene.

Recommendation: Buy it. And if you have teens and tweens at home, pick up a copy of Grippando’s thriller for younger readers, Leapholes. (ABA Publishing, $15.95)

The Law Clerk

By Scott Douglas Gerber (Ohio Northern University, $24.95)

In this tautly written thriller, Ohio Northern University law professor Scott Douglas Gerber takes on the porn industry, the mob, the First Amendment and murder. But it’s the erudite details—the architectural references, the RICO charge, the entire text of a bench memo and scenes set during pretrial conferences—that reveal the author’s academic bent (and his experience as a law clerk to a federal judge). The story’s a bit over the top and the narrative is sometimes unnecessarily sexually graphic, but Gerber’s definitely done his research.

Law factor: High. Protagonist Sam Grimes is a federal law clerk, and the book is structured like a lawsuit, with sections called “preliminary motions” and “post-judgment relief.”

Recommendation: Law hacks will love it.

Stump Your Lawyer! A Quiz to Challenge the Legal Mind

By Howard Zaharoff (Chronicle Books, $12.95)

This Nutshell-size book is filled with clever questions conceived by a practicing lawyer. Massachusetts IP lawyer Howard Zaharoff’s entertaining test combines surprisingly challenging hypotheticals with head-scratching points of trivia. Be warned: The answers aren’t as obvious as they seem. Right or wrong, though, the suspense level is low—every question’s answer appears on the next page. BAR/BRI students should be so lucky!

Law factor: 24/7.

Recommendation: Buy it—then turn it into a parlor game at your next gathering.

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