Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

John Grisham’s New Book, The Appeal

If you haven’t already heard, John Grisham has a new legal thriller out.  It’s called The Appeal.  Here’s an excerpt from Charles Taylor’s review at

[The defendant’s] next step, of course, is to appeal the verdict.  Knowing that it will take several years for the case to reach the state Supreme Court, the company decides to buy a seat.  Judges are elected in Mississippi, so they target a victim—a female justice who can be made to sound like a liberal harridan—and groom a decent, conservative young lawyer to run against her.  Then the smear campaign begins.

Sounds a little like an appellate version of The Runaway Jury, with some commentary on judicial elections thrown in.  According to USA Today‘s review:

More than a novel, The Appeal is an exposé of how highly organized special-interest groups, loaded with cash, can manipulate the judicial system.  It’s Grisham’s bully pulpit for reform.  “There’s a lot of truth in this story,” Grisham writes in an author’s note.  “As long as private money is allowed in judicial elections we will see competing interests fight for seats on the bench.”

D. Todd Smith
About the Author

D. Todd Smith is an Austin-based civil appellate specialist who works with trial teams from the earliest stages of litigation. In trial courts, he takes the lead on strategic analysis and briefing, jury charges, and potentially dispositive motions, all with a focus on preserving error and positioning cases for appellate review.

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