on September 16, 2003
Most people disappointed with this book complain that it isn't the usual Grisham style. Regardless of whether Grisham is making a political statement about homeless people or not, this book is a GOOD read.
Pro bono work is another aspect of lawyers that Grisham tries to highlight in this book here similar to what he has done with other material like mass torts, mega law firms, racial crimes, underaged witnesses etc. Though this book covers a less glamorous side of the profession (which he openly suggests in the book) which might not make it a fast paces thriller, it is no lesser than any of his other works.
This is the most honest and poignant of his works till date.
on October 9, 2003
"'I'm leaving the firm. I have an offer to work for a public interest firm. A legal clinic near Logan Circle. It specializes in homeless law.'" In The Street Lawyer, John Grisham uses a busy city setting, realistic characters, a sticky plot, and lots of figurative language to get his point across: Don't be selfish.
In this book the main character, Michael, was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. firm with eigh hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience. But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney. The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted from the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed on the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer.
The setting is in Washington D.C. This is a very effective setting because it is a very large city and probably has a lot of homeless people. The setting is consistent throughout the book. Michael only talks about different sections of Washington D.C.
The characters Grisham used were also essential to the book. They were very life-like. They even think and act like real people. "Mordecai Green was a warm, caring man who labored on the streets protecting hordes of nameless clients."
The plot in The Street Lawyer is awesome. It keeps going and making the reader want to read more and more. The whole book only covers about 6 or 7 days so the plot is drawn out. The conflicts within the plot are Michael vs Himself and Michael vs the outside world.
The language is very vivid in this book. Grisham uses everyday language that we all can relate to. We can hear everything that Michael even thinks about. The language is also very descriptive with attention to every detail. "The sidewalk was busy. I watched the people scurry by, the wind cutting them sharply. A mother with two children passed me, bundled in nice clothing, all holding hands."
John Grisham's The Street Lawyer is a must read. Grisham combines all the necessary elements into this book to make it one of the best books out there.
on April 28, 2004
Okay, its been a while but all i know was that the begining wasn't so bad. He and some of his co-workers are kept hostage by some homeless guy and they're all scared about what this guy is about to do with that gun. Then when the Homeless person comes to open the door for the food, the police blows his brains out. Now that part was really exciting so I kept on reading hoping like that would show up again. But it didn't. The rest of the story is how he does pro bono work and goes after his old company and in the end wins by having his old law firm due pro bono work. All in all, a pretty dumb book.
on May 19, 1999
Effort and hope would be futile for the homeless without a representative. The homeless cannot survive the corrupted world of power. Michael Brock, an average money making corporate lawyer, has experienced an unexpected situation which transforms his whole life. In the building of Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm, was taken hostage by DeVon Hardy, a Vietnam veteran who was evicted by the firm. Brock, overwhelmed with this situation, became drawn into with the history of Hardy. Discovering the neighborhood of Hardy, he met a public lawyer, Mordecai. Mordecai, defending the homeless with a salary less than one-third of Brock, has devoted his time defend the poor from depravity of the world. Introduced to a homeless shelter, Brock becomes stunned by the number of homeless people visible. He gets to know a nice little homeless family. Becoming very personal with them, the news revealed that the family had died of asphyxiation. Brock later finds out that his very own law firm, Drake and Sweeney had evicted the family, too. Does this mean that he will become a moral lawyer, reveal the truth, or will money and power corrupt his innocent mind? Frustrated with the death of the family, he is destined to discover the illegal and illicit actions of his own law firm. Michael Brock the virtuous lawyer, the savior of the poor and the heart of morals, has "found a calling" and unveils the moral injustices of the homeless. He no longer works for money; he works for the truth. "I've lost my love for money. It's the curse of the devil." " The law is a higher calling." In the interim of all this, he faces the affliction of divorce, implicated to a crime for a stolen missing file, and injured in a car accident, demolishing his new Lexus. He is arrested in conviction for the missing file and dramatized in the criminal society of jail. How will he succeed? Michael Brock is embarked to a journey of his lifetime. The journey is only what the reader makes of it. Experience it and be anticipated to a work of literature that will lure you to the real world of corruption.
on November 1, 2003
John has joined like-minded liberals like the late Leon Ursis in taking back-handed swipes at those of us who work for a living, are conservative, and/or Republican. If you are any of these, save your money. The story: A homeless vet with a gun holds a boardroom of wealthy lawyers as hostage (the only good part of the book) grilling them about their lack of compassion in supporting the homeless. Grisham manages (transparently) to blame the Republicans for the desparate condition of those without homes, poor pay, multiple children out of wedlock, drug addiction, etc., etc. John then sites the example of Atlanta banishing the homeless from the streets during the Olympics. Hey, John, the govenor and the mayor of Atlanta were DEMOCRATS at the time. But, never let a fact get in the way of a liberal on a rant. Understand one thing, the book does raise the level of consciousness about the homeless situation, but the concept always remains the same--take from the wealthy and give to the poor. Nothing is mentioned about helping the poor EARN their way. Nothing is mentioned about how the wealthy provide the jobs that prevent homelessness. Nothing is mentioned about best-selling authors (like Grisham), stars (like Clooney, Roberts, and Streisand), sports stars (like Bryant, Tyson, Ramirez, et al), and media moguls (like Gannett, Rather, Jennings) pouring some of their millions into tin cups. In other words, Street Lawyer really offers nothing new. Two stars for another sneak peek into the left.
on March 23, 1998
For readers who read Grisham's ninth title they will be rewarded with the author's best effort. This will please his legions of diehard fans and attract some new ones. The author drags you into the story rather than grabbing you and the more you read the more hooked you become. Grisham turns his attention to the plight of the homeless and sets the stage in Washington, DC. What is interesting about this theme, the homeless and their problems, is that the plot could realistically be played out in any large city. Our hero is on the fast track to the million-dollar-a-year partnership at a prestigious DC law firm. He and his colleagues get held hostage by a homeless person with a grudge against the firm.... I've read several reviews of this book suggesting the plotline is unrealistic, and I disagree. I step over homeless people regularly on a 4-block walk to work at 6 in the morning. I've seen several of the same faces several times over several years and wonder how they survive. A homeless person with a grudge and some ingenuity just might be able to saunter into a private building without adequate security and threaten life and property, and it could conceivably happen in any large city. The possibility of this scenario lends credibility to the storyline. The only outright criticism I can make is that the book what too short. But therein lies a benefit: You can start this book after dinner and be done before Nightline. An ancillary benefit: Grisham's books make great movies. THE STREET LAWYER in celluloid shouldn't disappoint.
on May 18, 1998
*The Street Lawyer by John Grisham has a promising setting and characters but never meets the expectations set in the beginning of the book. The beginning of the book includes an exciting hostage situation that brings about changes for the main character. This sets up the book but becomes the most exciting scene in the story because of the relatively dull plot. *Grisham never was able to develop the plot's quality equal to that of the characters. Grisham continued throughout the story to develop characters that were real and entertaining. The characters were interesting and not shallow. Each one had their distinct personality that was consistent throughout the novel. Michael Brock, the main character, was particularly entertaining because of his slightly sarcastic sense of humor and the way that he dealt with the situations brought to him by the plot. The characters were one of the better points of the book. *It seemed as though Grisham was already thinking about making the book into a movie when he was thinking of a few of the characters; for example, Mordecai Green seems to be a natural James Earl Jones. He is a large and respected man who can get attention by the sound of his voice. His appearance and personality are key to the book. *The setting also contributed to the positive expectations that Grisham failed to meet because of the plot. Grisham chose the setting as an excellent backdrop for a good David and Goliath tale. Michael Brock, the main character, has a revelation and decides to quit his job at one of the biggest national firms in Washington D.C.; the novel's setting. He begins to work for the homeless in the nation's capital where it is a major problem and a hot issue. He takes on his former employer, who represents the other scale of the social class system, in a city where politics and publicity are key and do come into play. *The developed characters, Grisham's entertaining voice and style of writing, and the perfect setting of the book helped make a book that appeals ! to the reader, somewhat, in entertainment value, but more to the reader's emotions toward the homeless. The Street Lawyer is a great book to motivate one to start in homeless volunteering. The book showed a little bit about what goes on in the minds of the homeless and how to help them. It shows how the homeless have no real bounds of where they stay. They just pick up their few belongings and leave. The book shows where the homeless tend to live. Grisham had his homeless characters sleeping in cars, volunteer and government projects, or anywhere to shield them from most of the elements. The book is more effective as motivation for volunteering than of an entertaining story.
on April 21, 2003
When a person thinks of lawyers, they usually think of people who work in big firms and make a lot of money. Most people do not think of pro-bono lawyers, lawyers who practice law without getting paid. They do it out of their own good. John Grisham did a great job explaining what a pro-bono lawyer is.
You wouldn't think that one single day could change the rest of your life. Michael Brock was a successful lawyer who was climbing the ladder to become a partner of "Drake & Sweeney". He was making big bucks and enjoying his wealth. Then one event changed the rest of his life. He, along with a few fellow lawyers, was held hostage at his workplace. After being held hostage for no apparent reason, Michael started investigating the man that held him hostage and learned that he was a homeless man who had been in and out of shelters. Not only this, but the man was also mentally ill. For this reason, Michael predicted that the homeless man had held him hostage. Then, Michael did some more investigating and learned a new secret about the firm he worked at, "Drake & Sweeney." After more and more inspection, Michael became afraid and quit his job to work as a street lawyer. He was no longer worried about the money he made, but was more concerned with helping the homeless out. After the whole hostage situation, Michael slowly started going down the ladder he was once climbing.
This is a must read book to anyone who is interested in law and justice. "The Street Lawyer" compares two different types of lawyers and gives a great explanation of each kind of layer. Also, the novel briefly comes into contact with the fact that it is more important for one to do what they like to do rather than take up a field of work for the money. Michael wanted to help others during college and law school then, he got caught up with the money he was making and lost his interest to help others. He did not care about his clients; he just wanted to settle a case for the money. After the whole hostage situation, Michael rethinks what he has been doing and leaves his job to help the homeless.
Along with the lawyer plot and helping others, Grisham adds in a family problem. Michael is a young lawyer who is married to a hard working woman. They are both very busy with their work and they hardly get to see each other. The marriage does not end up working out and Michael is once again single. In the story, Michael has lost almost everything valuable to him. He no longer has his job at "Drake & Sweeney," he has no place to live, he loses his luxurious car, and loses all interest making big bucks and becoming wealthy.
I really enjoyed reading this book because the plot grabbed my attention from the start. The story started off strong, grabbing my attention and not letting me get distracted throughout the book. Once I started the book, I did not want to put it down; I wanted to keep reading it until I was finished. Also, the fact that it was an easy read boosted my rating for the book. I found this book very easy to read and comprehend to. The reason I found the book easy to read is because it did not have many complicated words.
Once again, I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in becoming a lawyer or has an interest in law itself. It is a great book and well worth reading.
Overall, I give this book 4 stars because I loved reading it and it kept me interested. I did not daze off and the book kept me on my feet wondering what was going to happen next.
on June 21, 2004
This was my first grisham and it did not work for me. The Street Lawyer is about a young lawyer, who comes close to death when a homeless man holds him hostage, and his sudden changes of lifestyle and thinking. He quits his current job as a hot-shot lawyer after is encounter and becomes extremely into helping the poor. When he finds out about some wrong-doing at his old law firm, he steals a file that tells all. He thinks he got away with it until he gets into a bad car crash and the file is found by the wrong people. The main character is Michael Brock, who begins the story a lawyer in an unhappy marriage. After his encounter with the crazed homeless man, he realizes that homelessness is a problem in Washington DC, where he lives. He joins a small firm that helps only the poor. He and his wife later separate and he moves into an apartment where he sleeps on the floor in an attempt to relate to his customers. Obviously, the book's title is The Street Lawyer because that is what he becomes. I didn't like this book because it was over-the-top dramatic and preachy. I have never read a book by John Grisham, and I guess I was expecting much more. The ending of the book is the worst part; it simply cuts off on the part that is remotely interesting. Before I read this book, I hadn't thought of poverty being in the streets as much as it probably is in the US, and this is the only thing I've learned from this book.
on March 1, 1998
It's not the "Partner", but I hope that it makes you think about your fellow man. I have always said that we make our own destiny, but as I see more of the world I continue to open my eyes to the sadness we call humanity. The constant efforts of the few to take from those, least able to defend their possessions. I work very hard for the dollars I earn, but I always try to find time to help those that don't have what I have. I read in "The Street Lawyer" a message, one that some feel Grisham is being preachy, others say right-on, while I say, if it bothers you, maybe you feel some guilt. While I would like all those who profit from tales of Humanity, to share thier new found wealth with the cause, I don't know Grisham well enough to say he will.
A side bar, after finishing this book I listened to a local Chicago artist sing a song he had written about a true event in his life. The song title is "Snow Man" by Wes Davis. This song is so moving that I hope the movie moguls use it as the theme song when they take this book to the screen. Wes's lyics for the Snow Man ring true with Michael Brocks' experiences, the snow, the helplessness, the reason for being, and simply the art of caring.
It made me think!
Thank you John
PS, John, if you read your reviews, I want you to know that I called you a bastard for the ending to Partners! I couldn't believe you left the kid without the money or the girl.