John Grisham's new novel is The Litigators.
From his Q & A with Christopher John Farley at the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog:
How did you come up with the characters in “The Litigators”?--Marshal Zeringue
Certainly Wally and Oscar are compositions of many lawyers. I got the idea for the guys from watching all this really sleazy TV advertising done by lawyers. It’s epidemic all over the country. You see these guys on television appealing for injury cases and all these drug cases and most of them are not the least bit attractive or good on television but they think they belong there. They just think because they’re lawyers they should be on TV begging for cases.
Did you come away with more sympathy for ambulance-chasing lawyers after writing this book?
I don’t think there’s a lot of sympathy. Because I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the unrestrained ambulance chasing that you see today in the law. I finished law school thirty years ago and I only practiced for ten years. But when I finished there was still this stigma against lawyers who actively solicited cases. This was before advertising on TV, before billboards, before all the crap you see now. But there were lawyers who were known to go out and aggressively pursue case. And thirty years ago, we didn’t like those guys. We had a certain ethical structure to the practice of street law as I call it. Over time that’s been completely eroded. Now it’s just this non-stop TV advertising that to me is just so unseemly and so sleazy I can’t stand to watch it but it’s getting worse every day. That and the frenzy when there’s a new bad drug, it’s like a bunch of vultures or sharks. Everyone starts advertising. When the BP oil spill happened last summer, in Mississippi and Louisiana, the advertising by the lawyers was disgusting. They were...[read on]