A Lawyer's Life

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9780312278267: A Lawyer's Life

The most famous lawyer in America talks about the law, his life, and how he has won.

Johnnie Cochran has been a lawyer for almost forty years. In that time, he has taken on dozens of groundbreaking cases and emerged as a pivotal figure in race relations in America. Cochran gained international recognition as one of America's best - and most controversial lawyers - for leading 'the Dream Team' defense of accused killer O.J. Simpson in the Trial of the Century. Many people formed their perception of Cochran based on his work in that trial. But long before the Simpson trial and since then Johnnie Cochran has been a leader in the fight for justice for all Americans. This is his story.

Cochran emerged from the trial as one of the nation's leading African-American spokespersons - and he has done most of his talking through the courtroom. Abner Louima. Amadou Diallo. The racially-profiled New Jersey Turnpike Four. Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. Patrick Dorismond. Cynthia Wiggins. These are the names that have dominated legal headlines - and Cochran was involved with each of them. No one who first encountered him during the Simpson trial can appreciate his impact on our world until they've read his whole story.

Drawing on Cochran's most intriguing and difficult cases, A Lawyer's Life shows how he's fought his critics, won for his clients, and affected real change within the system. This is an intimate and compelling memoir of one lawyer's attempt to make us all truly equal in the eyes of the law.

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Review:

Johnnie Cochran had been famed as a folksy oratory in Los Angeles courtrooms since the 1960s, but the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial catapulted him to international fame--a status he gladly acknowledges in this bare-knuckles memoir of his years in court.

Cochran doesn't spend much time revisiting the Simpson case (except to proclaim O.J. innocent). Cochran devotes most of his account to less-celebrated cases that address repeated themes--police negligence and outright perjury; the difficulties minorities face in securing impartial justice; the inherent unfairness of racial profiling. Cochran describes his methods, and explains the reason for his rhyming summations ("If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit"): "Juries enjoyed them, understood them, and, more importantly, remembered them."

Readers may not be won over by Cochran, but his book will be widely enjoyed and remembered. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Johnnie Cochran was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1937. In 1963, he began his legal career in Los Angeles as a Deputy City Attorney for the city's criminal division. In addition to O.J. Simpson, Cochran's high profile clients have included Michael Jackson, Reginald Denny, Geronimo Pratt, Todd Bridges, and James Brown. His autobiography, Journey to Justice, was a national bestseller.

David Fisher is the author of more than a dozen bestselling books, among them Gracie with George Burns, What's What, the first visual reference book, and the novel The War Magician. He has written extensively for national magazines and newspapers.

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