The Firm

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

THE FIRM begins with the recruitment of Mitchell McDeere, a Harvard Law School graduate, by a small firm in Memphis, Tennessee. McDeere has offers from some very prestigious law firms, but the Memphis tax firm offers him $80,000 a year and a BMW, so he accepts. The workload at the firm is arduous, but that is no different than other firms. There is an important difference, however; this firm bugs the members’ offices and homes, and it is controlled by the Mafia.

Mitchell is approached by an FBI agent who tells him about how the firm is operating and asks him to help the agency make a case against the corrupt firm. Mitchell resists but must acknowledge that the charges against the firm are accurate.

Mitchell agrees to turn over documents to the FBI, but he needs a suitable reward. They agree on two million dollars and the release of Mitchell’s brother, Ray, from prison. Yet Mitchell has reservations about the FBI’s protection and makes his own plans.

At the climax, the McDeeres are pursued by both the FBI and the Mafia and gather in a Florida motel. They have enough money, but will the Mafia or the FBI get them first? The rescue of the McDeeres only comes at the very end of the novel. A friend takes them from a pier to asylum in Little Cayman at the last minute. In the final scene, the McDeeres are at home in a tropical paradise; the members of the firm are all sent to prison.

The strengths of Grisham’s novel are the depiction of a high-pressure law firm, the gradual discovery of its corruption, and the suspenseful ending. The...

(The entire section is 647 words.)