This article about why aspiring lawyers should read John Grisham novels has been written by Srishti Aishwarya and was originally published in A First Taste of Law. We brought it back for you from the archives.
I recently completed reading John Grisham’s latest novel – The Confession. Over the past few years, I have read all of Grisham’s novels and have never ceased to be fascinated by his highly engaging works. His latest novel, The Confession is about a dying murderer’s last minute confession in an effort to save the innocent convict from being given the death penalty. I for one have got most of my general legal knowledge about the basic concepts of law from Grisham novels. While preparing for CLAT, I did not know the difference between a plaintiff and an accused or the significance of wills and codicils until I read Grisham novels. Here are the reasons as to why Grisham’s novels are a must-read for anyone wanting to know how the American legal system functions.
- Information as to the basic concepts of law: Grisham novels will give you information about the basic concepts of law and legal procedure. Grisham explains concepts like the subpoena, ‘mass tort’, the difference between bail and parole and procedural details like a selection of juries, functions of various Courts etc. in a lucid and simple language.
- The relation between law and politics: In some of his books, Grisham succinctly describes the politics in America’s judiciary and the politicians use and misuse of the law. For example; in his bestseller The Chamber, he beautifully makes us aware of the use and misuse of pardons given to death penalty convicts by U.S. State governors depending on the governor’s political ideology.
- Corporate lifestyle and corporate espionage: In his novels The Firm, The Client and the Partner; Grisham has brought to fore the corporate lifestyle of big law firm lawyers and the unethical and often illegal tactics resorted to by law firms to please their clients and make profits.
- Describes various disciplines of law: Over the last two decades, Grisham has written various novels ranging from corporate law espionage and civil litigation; to murder and death penalty cases; class action suits; environmental law violations and property law disputes. Thus, the reader will get all necessary and important happenings in the legal industry.
- Social and political issues: Even when Grisham tries to fictionalize and make legal issues more entertaining; he nonetheless tries to highlight the key social and political issues confronting The USA. In one of his books, he makes a strong argument for squatters rights; in another bestseller, The Chamber he weighs the arguments for and against the death penalty. His work of non-fiction; The Innocent Man deals with prisoner rights; wrongful convictions and the use and abuse of death sentence by various states of America.
- Fast-paced and entertaining: The beauty of Grisham novels is that they are fast-paced, entertaining and easy to understand. You would want to keep on reading his wise cracks and would marvel at his ability to delve into important points of law without being monotonous. His portrayal of young protagonists and masala-movie style stories will keep you engaged.
- Courtroom dramas: Grisham has this great ability to depict highly engaging Court-room duels with numerous procedural details (such as selection of juries; filing of various petitions etc.)
- Exposes the corruption in America’s establishments: In his books The Brethren, The Appeal and The Broker; Grisham gives insights as to the behind-the-scene corruption, favoritism, dogmatism and power games of America’s politicians, lawmakers, judges, and lawyers.
To all students preparing for CLAT: If you haven’t read any Grisham novel; please start right away and enrich your Legal GK.