The Money Lawyers: The No-Holds-Barred World of Today's Richest and Most Powerful Lawyers

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9780312205553: The Money Lawyers: The No-Holds-Barred World of Today's Richest and Most Powerful Lawyers

The Money Lawyers vividly describes how lawyering has become a money-driven business, not just a profession. It explores the lucrative world of class-action litigation, where plaintiff lawyers - "The Class-Action Club" - garner billions of dollars in damages and fees through suits against manufacturers of items such as breast implants, asbestos, and diet pills. Also featured are the new super-lawyer David Boies of IBM/Florida vote fame; the Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist Tom Boggs; and the mess divorce of securities "strike-suit law" William Lerach of San Diego and Melvyn Weiss of New York. Additionally, the dark side of "white-shoe law" is detailed in an account of how a Wall Street firm cast out partners so that survivors could make more money, and the price the firm paid for its blatant disloyalty.

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About the Author:

Joseph C. Goulden is the author of eighteen nonfiction books, including The Superlawyers (1972); Korea: The Untold Story of the War; and The Best Years, 1945-1950, a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Before becoming a full-time writer, Goulden worked as an underground miner, a counter-intelligence operative and a newspaperman; lastly, as the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Review:

"Eye-opening and timely. Goulden gives us a close look at some of the nation's most powerful lawyers. Both friends and foes will learn a great deal."--Walter K. Olson, author of The Litigation Explosion and The Rule of Lawyers "It's hard not to feel outraged at the politico-legal complex when reading Goulden's brief profiles of some of the country's highest-paid lawyers. As he tracks the exploits of such superstars as David Boies, who sued Microsoft as a special counsel to the Justice Department and defended Al Gore during the 2000 election, and Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., a Washington "superlobbyist" whose law firm has gotten rich from its involvement in many government deals, including NAFTA and accords that allowed for increased oil drilling. Boggs, he writes, "has come to epitomize the enormous power, the awesome power that money exerts on government." Goulden, a journalist best known for his 1972 bestseller, The Superlawyers, writes well and he's got great access to his subjects. He makes a strong case in pointing out other flaws in the legal system, particularly the proliferation of profitable (for lawyers) class-action lawsuits that he says are clogging the courts. But some have argued just as strongly that these cases protect the individuals against powerful businesses and government. Still, Goulden's portraits of "dollar-drive" lawyers are sharp and highlight the power of money to distort the legal system."--Publishers Weekly "Journalist Goulden, the author of several books on public affairs and legal and historical topics, relies on published information and numerous interviews to crack open the world of big-time civil litigators. He profiles David Boies, of Westmoreland v. CBS, Bush v. Gore, and Microsoft antitrust fame, and consummate Washington lobbyist Thomas Hale Boggs, and offers detailed explications of several class-action lawsuits. Perhaps most interesting are his accounts of the inner workings and "divorces" of two high-profile law firms. Chapters that focus on individuals occasionally lean toward the gossipy and speculative. General readers interested in how law firms function and how lobbying firms influence government, as well as particular cases on breast implants, diet pills, and securities fraud, will find this book eyeopening. Goulden also offers some ideas for reining in big-money lawyers. Walter K. Olson's The Rule of Lawyers: How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America's Rule of Law tackles the same subject. Both books are recommended for public libraries."--Library Journal "Longtime investigative reporter Goulden probes big-time legal practice today. Law is frequently a bellicose business whose practitioners are only too happy to enable clients to sue, according to Goulden (The Superlawyers, 1972, etc.), who displays a lot of disdain and a smidgen of grudging admiration for some brilliant members of the bar. He profiles litigator David Boies, who for a while bested Microsoft, and leading Washington lobbyists Tommy Boggs and Jim Patton, who practice what they call "public policy" law (read: potent lobbying). Goulden gives mixed reviews to class-action lawyers, taking them to task for breast-implant litigation (silicone was not proven guilty, he argues), but admitting they were right to go after the Fen-Phen diet-drug manufacturers. Lawyers attack each other too, the author reminds us, as evidenced by the split-up of vaunted practitioners Lerach and Weiss, or the internecine treachery that divided venerable white-shoe firm Cadwallader, Wickersham & Taft. Stories of regulators' malfeasance, attorneys' chicanery, paper-chasing, lawyer gossip, among others, are all crammed under the title's general rubric. Oddly, Goulden omits discussion of big-tobacco litigation, though he does point a finger at enough ethical problems to delight most lawyer stalkers. In conclusion, the author considers three or four fruitless solutions, only to suggest that perhaps folks should take more responsibility for themselves, "a change in national attitudes that I doubt will occur in my lifetime."A casebook of the missteps and misdeeds of superlawyers."--Kirkus Reviews

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