David Boies, the man dubbed by The New York Times as "the lawyer that everyone wants" is at the forefront of American legal icons -- his battle defending Vice President Al Gore during the 2000 Florida recount frenzy has earned him the moniker "the Michael Jordan of the courtroom." In his memoir, Boies brings to life his personal details, from an unassuming boyhood in small-town Illinois to the brief career as a cardsharp that honed his photographic memory, to the hard lessons he learned in law school along with his high-profile battles at trial. His clients have included Calvin Klein, Don Imus, Gary Shandling, and major corporations like Napster and CBS. Eye-opening and compulsively readable, Courting Justice is a remarkable insider's look at the upper stratosphere of American litigation.Amazon.com Review
David Boies's memoir should be a bestseller for two simple reasons. First, his spectacular legal career, representing clients as diverse as Al Gore, George Steinbrenner, the U.S. Justice Department, and Calvin Klein, provides ample material for a compelling exploration of the practice of law in its most high-profile glory. And secondly, the book seems bound to sell well simply because most enterprises Boies gets himself involved with, from lawsuits to Las Vegas gambling, tend to pay off big. In Courting Justice, Boies traces the intricacies of numerous cases, such as Bush v. Gore in the hotly contested 2000 Florida recount, Steinbrenner's action against Major League Baseball, and the U.S. Government's antitrust litigation against Microsoft. At the same time he sheds light on the legal profession itself, exploring the politics of the profession and the power plays endemic to it. As though presenting his cases to a jury, Boies lays out the framework and issues of each case in a patient, step-by-step manner that illuminates the nature of the litigation and Boies's strategy while also supporting the narrative arc of the story he's trying to tell. As with many top lawyers, there is more than a dollop of ego and pride in Boies's accounts. Throughout Courting Justice Boies portrays himself as the voice of reason, possessed of a shrewd sagacity that his rivals and peers can only admire with slack-jawed amazement. Then again, when you look at the numerous legal triumphs and precedent-setting cases he was involved in, especially during the late 1990s, his arrogance is perhaps well earned. Regardless, it lends confidence to his outstanding ability to turn a phrase and tell a story, which, combined with the numerous stories he has to tell, makes David Boies's latest effort a success once again. --John Moe ... Read more
Customer Reviews (14)
Trial, like a battle, is a zero-sum game.I thought the author could walk on water until Bush v. Gore.David Boies likes dice throwing, and compares it to litigation.Actually, he feels that analogies to war are overdone.
Deposing Bill Gates in United States v. Microsoft was an opportunity to use the e-mail of the CEO and others in the company against the defendant.The trial of Microsoft had been dubbed the trial of the decade.After the Microsoft trial, Boies embarked upon a suit against Roche, BASF, Rhone-Polenc and others for price-fixing in the vitamin market.The case settled for more than the estimated overcharges.
The auction house business used to be cozy.In 1983 Alfred Taubman purchased Sotheby's.In the late 1990's price-fixing resulted in law suits against Christie's and Sotheby's.There was a run of class-action law suits and, in a bidding processs devised by the court, Boies and his firm became the lead attorneys.The cases settled.It is claimed that litigation may resemble the game Bridge, but negotiation to settle resembles Poker.
When Boies entered the Bush v. Gore matter, Warren Christopher was in charge.A number of days were spent in Florida and the Florida courts.Initially there was jubilation because a recount of the undercounting state-wide was to be commenced.Then Boies learned that the U.S. Supreme Court had stopped the count from going on just prior to the scheduled December 11th hearing before it.The Court failed to show the restraint it had for two hundred years in Bush v. Gore.Justices Kennedy and O'Connor discovered a problem with the Florida procedure on Equal Protection grounds.
Boies's recital of some of the notable cases in his career is never dull.
One of the greatest legal minds of his time
In sorting out the various element that contributed to Boeis's distinguished career as a lawyer who gave pride and grace to his profession, I could come up with few, based on his narration of and his broadcasted trials:
1- As a middle class young student, growing up in a racist society in the 1960, he sensed the common suffering as a young parent of two kids, with little resources, with those that confront black Americans. Poverty knows no skin color. Yet, his white skin enabled him to secure modest residence in Chicago after verifying that his wife was also not of the colored race. "Does it matter?" he never got an answer to his question from the nosy residential agent who decided his fate, then. The mere instinct of asking such a question in 1959 when racism was the norm in the American society, shows how liberal young Boeis was for his generation.
2- His financial struggle to raise family and go to school had ruined his first marriage and left him a wounded man. The woman who helped him succeed left him with his two kids. That loss seemed to throw him into a forbidden love with the wife of his evidence professor, which ended by his transfer from Chicago to Yale. His second marriage led him to work in New York, after graduation from law school. Yet, for the same reason of occupational dedication, it ended and a third marriage emerged in Washington DC. It was clear that he learned by mixing with ordinary people and shared their suffering and struggle for survival. His personal struggle went along with his developing clarity, simplicity, and accuracy in his legal reasoning.
3- His adventurous ordeal with the Guatemalan millionaire's ransom sheds more light on his rigorous calculating mind. His two divorces, growing up poor, gambling interests, and mixing with rich and diverse cultures in major American cities and institutions, were all put in action in his playful and foxy litigation with dangerous, arrogant, and powerful opponent, in foreign and lawless country. Though Boeis admits his mistakes in indulging in a lawsuit that burdened his relationship with his family, his profession, and his employer, yet his mind was unsettled. Whether enough justice could be bought by everyone? Or standing to those who subvert justice at the expense of indigent citizens is worth fighting for? He opted to deliver justice and would repeat the same "mistake" in US v. Microsoft and Bush v. Gore. His recognition that lawyers to parties should not act as judges did not quench his zeal for out-of-reach justice.
4- Boies' Guatemalan adventure also demonstrates his stubborn steadfastness that accompanied him since youth and cost him two marriages, yet let to successful profession. His empathy with Mary and her two kids let him overlook the notorious deeds of her callous ex-husband. After trapping a criminal into a federal prison, Boeis ventured into freeing him despite his long and heinous mischiefs. Boies went on to praise the courage of the FBI, criticize few corrupt judges and lawyers, yet forgot his own indulgence in releasing a criminal to freedom for the sake of his millions. The son and daughter of Joey would have better life without his psychotic influence, Mr. Boies!
5- Almost every legal argument he confronted has been approached as a mathematical problem. Boies outlines all possible options to which his arguments could lead to, along with all feasible approaches to each option. That basic logical organization enables him to prepare for fights he never fought and win fights by virtue of his convincing reasoning. His unique and individual stand on principals distinguishes him over the majority of lawyers. Boies acts as an activist for reform and democracy when many lawyers aimed for secure financial winning. He confesses that had not he been a lawyer, he might have been a teacher of History. Making history was his drive to regulate software industry, health care cost, and democratic representation of powerless voters.
6- The simplicity of his reasoning could not be attributed to study alone. In many of his arguments, he adapts to unpredictable responses and arrives to his ultimate goal. In the asbestos case against Grace, he admits that both the court and his opponent failed to catch him leading during direct examination. He had unintentionally improvised his leading questioning to get his witness to open up against his reservation. In the US v. Microsoft, Boeis shows brilliant technical skills unexpected from a non-technical professional. While Gates accused him by being unable to pass high school physics, Boeis quashed the tricks of the top experts of Microsoft when they attempted to fool the court by claiming that Windows and IE are inseparable.The arrogance and shallow mindedness of the software gurus led them to underestimate the diverse interests and skills of an uncanny lawyer.
7- In addition to his growing up among common people and sharing their struggle for making ends meet, his gambling and travel hobbies have enriched his quick problem solving ability. Associating with people at the top of their professional careers, combined with his keen ability to listen and observe, has contributed to priming his deftness. He does not shy from describing himself as an "experienced examiner", which he is.
8- His ultimate secret may be his ability to clearly discern the basic logical blocs of an argument and tie them quickly and neatly within larger frameworks. Few times, he admits exhaustion after examining hard-to-admit witnesses. Yet, he realizes that those tough fighters always admit to more information after embarrassment than they set off to do. On the quality of justice and judges, Boies presents a realistic narration of corrupt as well as honest judges.Consistently, he claims that judges always attempt to be fair even when they sometimes act with exaggerated toughness.
Mohamed F. El-Hewie
Essentials of Weightlifting and Strength Training
A good read, but what is missing is David Boies
David Boies is a true legal superstar and deservedly so.He is probably best known for arguing the losing side in Bush v. Gore to the U.S. Supreme Court.The book is a cross section of what the author believes to be some of his most interesting cases and many of them are.The book is readily accessible to the lay reader.Boies goes out of his way to explain even the simplest and most obvious points of law so that no one need be left behind.His rise to stardom is all the more extraordinary considering he was dyslexic.He glosses over his two failed marriages and we get to meet all the members of his extended family.But what I found curiously missing is David Boies, the man.He is very careful to hide his feelings about virtually everything except for a couple of lawyers.He is an observor of his actions, rather than a participant.His eye is incisive and he misses nothing.But where is he?He never tells you how he feels (sad, angry, happy).It's as if he left a holographic David Boies for you to look at to fool you into thinking it is the real thing.Surely the book is a fascinating look inside one of our great legal minds and well worth reading, but when I finished, I had no idea of what David Boies is really like.
A good read in need of a good editor
It's hard to imagine that a non-lawyer might enjoy reading about a conspiracy to fix the price of vitamins or the fees charged by auction houses, but I certainly did.Boise is able to distill complicated legal issues into easily understandable terms.The cases range from the above antitrust issues to the more famous Microsoft case to a horrific custody battle to the Bush v. Gore recount fiasco.Boise approaches all with a sense of humor and a clarity of prose.
That having been said, I really felt this book needed some basic editing help.Boise uses footnotes incessantly for things that could and should be included in the text.He also references cases that aren't discussed in the book and then alludes to them in the afterward.Someone should have told him to take those references out --- they make the book a little confusing.
Finally, Boise's ego certainly isn't small.He thinks much of himself, and he probably is entitled to.The first couple of chapters, however, about his rise through the ranks of lawyers to the star he is today, can sometimes be a little much.
I would say perhaps the best reason to read this book is for an inside look at Bush v. Gore.Boies doesn't talk much about hanging chads.He does look carefully at the legal issues -- rather than the more catchy but ill-defined issue of "fairness" -- involved in the Florida recount, and coherently explains why the Gore campaign and the legal team proceeded as they did.Frankly, I wish Boies had written a whole book on this -- it is clearly the best section.
For everyone, not just lawyers
I was impressed by David Boies during the 2000 Election crisis, especially after reading a Time magazine article on him.When I saw this book, I was immediately interested, but I was apprehensive since I am not a lawyer and I was afraid it would be bogged down in legalese and I wouldn't understand the book.I decided to take a chance, especially because there was a chapter on the Yankees versus Major League Baseball.It turns out that I understood everything Boies wrote.That's because Boies writes very clearly and for everyone, not just lawyers.He explains the details in the cases that are important to understand, the fundamental arguments of both sides, not just the side he was representing, all in an enjoyable way.I found myself even enjoying the chapters on cases I wasn't immediately drawn to, such as "Fixing the Price of Health" (on price fixing in vitamins), and "The Auction House Scandal".Boies also recounts two of his most famous cases: the Microsoft case and Bush vs Gore.I definitely recommend this book.
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