The Street Lawyer

“I use Grammarly’s plagiarism check because it let’s me know how badly I need to work on my writing skills”

I have a ton of John Grisham novels and it was time to dust off one from my shelves and re-read it. The book was released in the United States on 1 January 1998 and is his 9th book overall.

Shaken by a the experience of having a homeless man, who called himself “Mister”, holding him and a few other lawyers hostage and then seeing the man shot by a police sniper, has a life changing affect on antitrust lawyer Michael Brock. Michael is concerned by what he learns and is compelled to investigate further on the plight of the homeless in Washington DC, the nation’s capital and his current city of residence. He finds his way to the 14th Street Legal Clinic where he meets Mordecai Green, an advocate for the homeless, who asks him to help one night at a homeless shelter. As he digs deeper he learns that his own employers, the large DC law firm Drake & Sweeney, are also complicit in an illegal eviction, which eventually resulted in the death of a young homeless family. This leads Michael to take a confidential file with the intention to copy it but is quickly accused of theft.

Michael leaves his job with the firm to join Mordecai and take a poorly-paid position with the 14th Street Legal Clinic, which works to protect the rights of the homeless. Faced with a sudden cutting of their joint income, his wife proceeds to divorce him (though the marriage was dying for a long time) and Michael moves out to a less expensive apartment. He meets Ruby, a homeless drug addict, who becomes a regular at the clinic and has coffee & donuts each morning. Later he admits her to a therapy class for drug-addicted women for her to recover so she can see her son again and in the process meets Megan who works at the women’s homeless shelter. Drake & Sweeney comes after Brock with theft and malpractice allegations but the Clinic launches a lawsuit against the law firm and its business partners. With bad publicity looming it’s ugly head over the firm the matter is settled by mediation and the clinic receives a large payout to be shared with the victims of the eviction – with the condition being that Michael’s license is suspended for a while. It however won’t affect his pay or his work at the Clinic so he agrees and lets Mordecai finalize the settlement. In an unexpected move Drake & Sweeney’s head partner, deeply troubled by the events, offers to make pro bono staff available to assist the work of the Clinic in fighting for the rights of homeless people.

The book ends with Michael taking a brief vacation with Megan and a recovering Ruby, reflecting on the changes in his life and feeling like he has started to make a real difference. Good read, it’s kinda hard to put down once you start reading and it’s a comfortable pace that lets you get hooked.

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