Playing Rogue Legal Games


If you‘re still not decided on your Easter readings, grab John Grisham‘s Rogue Lawyer. If you‘re fascinated by procedures of American court trials, open John Grisham‘s Rogue Lawyer. If you‘re interested in defending hopeless cases, definitely read into John Grisham‘s Rogue Lawyer.

With 30 novels, this one by John Grisham is different. At first it looks like a book of short stories united by a main character – defense lawyer Sebastian Rudd. But gradually the cases start interconnecting and overlapping, making Rudd worry not only about his clients but also of his own life.

Sebastian Rudd is not the first defense lawyer in fiction. However, the story is not about an innocent client to be sentenced to death (though we get that episode here in the beginning). He is the one known in legal circles to whom you should address, if nobody else is taking your case: he‘ll defend anybody. Though Rudd is not listed in any phone book and you won‘t find his legal office because he hasn‘t got one: his office is a bulletproof van.

The story is about ways to deal with criminal justice when, actually, there is no justice left: „Do we really want fair trials? No, we do not. We want justice, and quickly. And justice is whatever we deem it to be on a case-by-case basis“. The story is told by Sebastian Rudd and all the reader gets is from the defense lawyer‘s perspective. He is the lone fighter against the whole system but it doesn‘t necessarily make him a good guy.

On the contrary, Rudd is a master of cheating and manipulation. He‘s a fan of cage fights and even the agent for one of the most promising young fighters. He‘s also a shitty dad who often forgets his court scheduled paternity hours and enjoys legal games that irritate his ex-wife. Overall, Sebastian Rudd is a sleazy bastard, admitting that „there are people out there who‘d love to see me suffer. Some of these people hide behind badges.

The best thing about the novel is its easy pleasure of reading. You don‘t have to be a lawyer to get the essence of the legal subject: the only thing you‘re keen to do is turn to the next page. And don‘t search for a grand meaning – Rogue Lawyer is just an entertaining fable on maleficent legal matters. The only takeaway for the reader might be Rudd‘s cynical quotes, such as „As in any war, the truth is the first casualty.“

Cutting through the tough cases as through butter, Sebastian Rudd finally bumps into a stone wall, initiating an evil domino effect. But he is a rogue lawyer and, instead of looking for a narrow escape, Rudd invokes all his contacts and skills to take advantage of the situation.

The last chapter ends with the closed case. „This time I‘m not sure I‘m going back“, states Sebastian Rudd leaving the City. However, the reader hardly doubts he will definitely return.

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