“The best legal read . . . in decades. A brilliantly entertaining work, both for the lawyer and the layman.”
Robert S. Bennett has been a lawyer for more than forty years. In that time, he’s taken on dozens of high-proﬁle and groundbreaking cases and emerged as the go-to guy for the nation’s elite. Bob Bennett gained international recognition as one of America’s best lawyers for leading the defense of President Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones case. He has always fought for justice. This is his story.
Born in Brooklyn and an amateur boxer in his youth, Bennett has often brought his street-ﬁghter’s mentality to the courtroom. His case history is a who’s who of ﬁgures who have dominated legal headlines: superlobbyist Tommy Corcoran, former secretaries of defense Clark Clifford and Caspar Weinberger, Marge Schott, and, most recently, New York Times reporter Judith Miller and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz.
Throughout the telling of his life in court, Bennett offers refreshing and straightforward advice. He explains to readers how he prepares for trial, handles witnesses in the courtroom, crafts his opening and closing arguments, and provides other terrific tips and object lessons for success in law and life. This memoir is both a great read for lawyers, law students, and political readers who want a look inside the Beltway power game, and an intimate and compelling story of one lawyer’s attempt to fight hard and fair.
Important people caught in a jam-Bill Clinton embroiled in the Paula Jones lawsuit, Judith Miller facing jail time for contempt, Paul Wolfowitz battling ethics charges at the World Bank-often hire superlawyer Bennett to represent them. In this self-satisfied memoir, Bennett (a partner at the white-shoe firm Skadden, Arps) pays effusive tribute to friends and colleagues, proffers nuggets of wisdom to young attorneys ("While you should overprepare your cases, you should always under try them," i.e., keep the presentation simple) and ferociously defends his clients' reputations in rehashes of their cases. But his most zealous advocacy is for his brilliant lawyering, evidenced by courtroom proceedings that the author excerpts at great length. Alas, in print, lawyerly histrionics become rambling, turgid improvisations that try the reader's patience: "Your Honor, I don't look like Alice [in Wonderland]... but I somehow feel like I am. I'm perplexed as she was. I'm concerned as she was. There are things that just don't fit together for me." What does come through is the preening self-regard ("Had I been younger and less experienced, I might have been intimidated meeting one on one with the president") of an archetypal Washington mover-and-shaker. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information