The Terrible Truth About Lawyers

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

After spending an undisclosed but short number of years at the well-known Cleveland, Ohio, firm of Arter, Hadden, McCormack abandoned law to pursue a career in sports promotion, He immediately came up against an army of attorneys all engaged in protecting their clients from him, and he apparently views their attitudes toward him as hostile and inimical. He never seems to consider that these attorneys might legitimately see him, a graduate of a prestigious law school and a former practicing lawyer, as a real threat to the interests of their clients.

McCormack’s war stories are entertaining, to be sure, but they consistently present him in the best possible light. He sees himself as an ethical businessman trying to resolve disputes in spite of the nearsighted, overzealous, or venal attorneys around him. McCormack manipulates the reader by summarizing and oversimplifying court cases and legal principles, a practice that does the nonlawyer a great disservice and an injustice as well. It deprives him of the opportunity to examine the cases and principles for himself and serves to reinforce the misconception that law and justice have little to do with each other and that lawyers are champion manipulators interested only in protecting the client with the fattest bank account.

McCormack does, however, emphasize several “truths” which everyone should keep in mind. In our adversary system of justice, lawyers are paid to take sides and are expected to win. If they are too zealous in their pursuit of the best possible deal, their clients have the responsibility to step in and curb them. The client is the employer and the attorney the employee; thus it is the client who must direct and control any lawyer-client relationship.