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The King of Torts

( 116 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
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We've all seen the billboards and the late night television advertisements: "Have you taken this drug? If so, something may be wrong with your health. Please call this toll-free number." We know the names; they have become part of our society, a distasteful display we accept without much thought. Let me warn you, once you've read The King of Torts, you will never see another of these ads the same way again.

John Grisham opens a window into the fascinating world of tort litigation with The King of Torts, a daring, fast-paced legal thriller that documents the descent of a good-hearted young lawyer into a sinkhole of greed and moral turpitude. Although Grisham does not always get a lot of respect from the literary establishment, his explosive statement on the nature and state of tort litigation in The King of Torts likely caught the attention of many of the nation's mass tort lawyers, and with good reason.

The King of Torts is the tale of Clay Carter, a 31-year-old D.C. public defender, five years out of law school, making $36,000 a year, and well on his way to burnout. This was not the way it was supposed to be. Clay's father was heading a law firm he was going to join after graduating from law school. Instead, as a result of some shadowy ethical decisions, his father's firm collapsed, and Clay joined the public defender's office, not a place known as a training ground for bright young litigators. While Clay tries to reason that his position will give him the litigation experience he needs to join a law firm, deep down he knows that this is a one-way ticket to nowhere. As a result, Clay "grows up" with a feeling of inferiority, which is constantly underscored by his girlfriend's wealthy parents, who loathe him and his financially unimpressive job. Eventually, even his girlfriend, Rebecca, who is pulled by the lure of money and stability, turns away from him. The seeds are planted, and Clay's inferiority complex eventually catches up with him, contributing to a wild ride and his ultimate downfall.

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