The Litigators

The Litigators

by John Grisham


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“Grisham is an absolute master.”—The Washington Post
After leaving a fast-track legal career and going on a serious bender, David Zinc is sober, unemployed, and desperate enough to take a job at Finley & Figg, a self-described “boutique law firm” that is anything but. Oscar Finley and Wally Figg are in fact just two ambulance chasers who bicker like an old married couple. But now the firm is ready to tackle a case that could make the partners rich—without requiring them to actually practice much law. A class action suit has been brought against Varrick Labs, a pharmaceutical giant with annual sales of $25 billion, alleging that Krayoxx, its most popular drug, causes heart attacks. Wally smells money. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of Krayoxx users to join the suit. It almost seems too good to be true . . . and it is.
“John Grisham may well be the best American storyteller writing today.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Where Grisham leads, millions of readers follow.”—New York Daily News
“A mighty narrative talent.”—Chicago Sun-Times

Includes an excerpt of John Grisham’s Calico Joe and a special preview of his upcoming novel The Racketeer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345536884
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/26/2012
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 213,778
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of twenty-four novels, including, most recently, Calico Joe; one work of nonfiction; a collection of stories; and a series for young readers. The recipient of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, he is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.


Oxford, Mississippi, and Albemarle County, Virginia

Date of Birth:

February 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Jonesboro, Arkansas


B.S., Mississippi State, 1977; J.D., University of Mississippi, 1981

Read an Excerpt

The law firm of Finley & Figg referred to itself as a “boutique firm.” This misnomer was inserted as often as possible into routine conver­sations, and it even appeared in print in some of the various schemes hatched by the partners to solicit business. When used properly, it implied that Finley & Figg was something above your average two-bit operation. Boutique, as in small, gifted, and expert in one specialized area. Boutique, as in pretty cool and chic, right down to the French-­ness of the word itself. Boutique, as in thoroughly happy to be small, selective, and prosperous.
Except for its size, it was none of these things. Finley & Figg’s scam was hustling injury cases, a daily grind that required little skill or creativity and would never be considered cool or sexy. Profits were as elusive as status. The firm was small because it couldn’t afford to grow. It was selective only because no one wanted to work there, including the two men who owned it. Even its location suggested a monotonous life out in the bush leagues. With a Vietnamese massage parlor to its left and a lawn mower repair shop to its right, it was clear at a casual glance that Finley & Figg was not prospering. There was another boutique firm directly across the street—hated rivals—and more lawyers around the corner. In fact, the neighborhood was teeming with lawyers, some working alone, others in small firms, others still in versions of their own little boutiques.
F&F’s address was on Preston Avenue, a busy street filled with old bungalows now converted and used for all manner of commercial activity. There was retail (liquor, cleaners, massages) and professional (legal, dental, lawn mower repair) and culinary (enchiladas, baklava, and pizza to go). Oscar Finley had won the building in a lawsuit twenty years earlier. What the address lacked in prestige it sort of made up for in location. Two doors away was the intersection of Preston, Beech, and Thirty- eighth, a chaotic convergence of asphalt and traffic that guaranteed at least one good car wreck a week, and often more. F&F’s annual overhead was covered by collisions that happened less than one hundred yards away. Other law firms, boutique and otherwise, were often prowling the area in hopes of finding an available, cheap bunga­low from which their hungry lawyers could hear the actual squeal of tires and crunching of metal.
With only two attorneys/partners, it was of course mandatory that one be declared the senior and the other the junior. The senior partner was Oscar Finley, age sixty-two, a thirty-year survivor of the bare- knuckle brand of law found on the tough streets of southwest Chicago. Oscar had once been a beat cop but got himself terminated for crack­ing skulls. He almost went to jail but instead had an awakening and went to college, then law school. When no firms would hire him, he hung out his own little shingle and started suing anyone who came near. Thirty-two years later, he found it hard to believe that for thirty- two years he’d wasted his career suing for past-due accounts receivable, fender benders, slip-and-falls, and quickie divorces. He was still mar­ried to his first wife, a terrifying woman he wanted to sue every day for his own divorce. But he couldn’t afford it. After thirty-two years of lawyering, Oscar Finley couldn’t afford much of anything.
His junior partner—and Oscar was prone to say things like, “I’ll get my junior partner to handle it,” when trying to impress judges and other lawyers and especially prospective clients—was Wally Figg, age forty-five. Wally fancied himself a hardball litigator, and his blustery ads promised all kinds of aggressive behavior. “We Fight for Your Rights!” and “Insurance Companies Fear Us!” and “We Mean Business!” Such ads could be seen on park benches, city transit buses, cabs, high school football programs, even telephone poles, though this violated several ordinances. The ads were not seen in two crucial markets—television and billboards. Wally and Oscar were still fighting over these. Oscar refused to spend the money—both types were horribly expensive—and Wally was still scheming. His dream was to see his smiling face and slick head on television saying dreadful things about insurance compa­nies while promising huge settlements to injured folks wise enough to call his toll-free number.
But Oscar wouldn’t even pay for a billboard. Wally had one picked out. Six blocks from the office, at the corner of Beech and Thirty- second, high above the swarming traffic, on top of a four-story tene­ment house, there was the most perfect billboard in all of metropolitan Chicago. Currently hawking cheap lingerie (with a comely ad, Wally had to admit), the billboard had his name and face written all over it. But Oscar still refused.
Wally’s law degree came from the prestigious University of Chi­cago School of Law. Oscar picked his up at a now-defunct place that once offered courses at night. Both took the bar exam three times. Wally had four divorces under his belt; Oscar could only dream. Wally wanted the big case, the big score with millions of dollars in fees. Oscar wanted only two things—divorce and retirement.
How the two men came to be partners in a converted house on Preston Avenue was another story. How they survived without chok­ing each other was a daily mystery.
Their referee was Rochelle Gibson, a robust black woman with attitude and savvy earned on the streets from which she came. Ms. Gibson handled the front—the phone, the reception, the prospective clients arriving with hope and the disgruntled ones leaving in anger, the occasional typing (though her bosses had learned if they needed something typed, it was far simpler to do it themselves), the firm dog, and, most important, the constant bickering between Oscar and Wally.
Years earlier, Ms. Gibson had been injured in a car wreck that was not her fault. She then compounded her troubles by hiring the law firm of Finley & Figg, though not by choice. Twenty- four hours after the crash, bombed on Percocet and laden with splints and plaster casts, Ms. Gibson had awakened to the grinning, fleshy face of Attorney Wallis Figg hovering over her hospital bed. He was wearing a set of aquamarine scrubs, had a stethoscope around his neck, and was doing a good job of impersonating a physician. Wally tricked her into signing a contract for legal representation, promised her the moon, sneaked out of the room as quietly as he’d sneaked in, then proceeded to butcher her case. She netted $40,000, which her husband drank and gambled away in a matter of weeks, which led to a divorce action filed by Oscar Finley. He also handled her bankruptcy. Ms. Gibson was not impressed with either lawyer and threatened to sue both for malpractice. This got their attention—they had been hit with similar lawsuits—and they worked hard to placate her. As her troubles multiplied, she became a fixture at the office, and with time the three became comfortable with one another.
Finley & Figg was a tough place for secretaries. The pay was low, the clients were generally unpleasant, the other lawyers on the phone were rude, the hours were long, but the worst part was dealing with the two partners. Oscar and Wally had tried the mature route, but the older gals couldn’t handle the pressure. They had tried youth but got themselves sued for sexual harassment when Wally couldn’t keep his paws off a busty young thing. (They settled out of court for $50,000 and got their names in the newspaper.) Rochelle Gibson happened to be at the office one morning when the then-current secretary quit and stormed out. With the phone ringing and partners yelling, Ms. Gibson moved over to the front desk and calmed things down. Then she made a pot of coffee. She was back the next day, and the next. Eight years later, she was still running the place.
Her two sons were in prison. Wally had been their lawyer, though in all fairness no one could have saved them. As teenagers, both boys kept Wally busy with their string of arrests on various drug charges. Their dealing got more involved, and Wally warned them repeatedly they were headed for prison, or death. He said the same to Ms. Gibson, who had little control over the boys and often prayed for prison. When their crack ring got busted, they were sent away for ten years. Wally got it reduced from twenty and received no gratitude from the boys. Ms. Gibson offered a tearful thanks. Through all their troubles, Wally never charged her a fee for his representation.
Over the years, there had been many tears in Ms. Gibson’s life, and they had often been shed in Wally’s office with the door locked. He gave advice and tried to help when possible, but his greatest role was that of a listener.
Excerpted from The Litigators by John Grisham. Copyright © 2011 by Belfry Holdings, Inc.
Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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The Litigators 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1154 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Grisham has done it again, in my opinion. The Litigators is a face paced, fun read. He develops the characters and plot well but doesn't let it drag. Unlike some of his past offerings he doesn't run out of gas near the end of the story and just wrap things up to say he did. I highly recommend this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Know that's not the usual comment for Grisham's books,but this one didn't pull any punches. Very witty and accurate descriptions of the TRUE way the legal world works. Some of the scenes had me literally laughing out loud. Guess he doesn 't care about offending anyone and I for one am glad! All of the characters were great. Bring it on!!!
KISKA777 More than 1 year ago
I was surprised after I finshed the book. It is not best, but it is not your regular riveting-Grisham, to which we've all become accustomed... The book gets a bit boring at times, but still, is an OK read...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not up to Grisham's usual standards. It is only a bestseller because it has his name on it. If it had been written by anyone else, it probably wouldn't have even been published.
jsandoval82 More than 1 year ago
What Happened here? With reading all of Grisham books it seemed to have stories of other books entangled into this one. I felt at times it was a condensed version of past books. It is a story about mass tort case, a lawyer, and the daily life of your standard mom and pop law firm. While the story was interesting, it became boring and mudane at times. After forcing myself through some chapters, I was had a feeling of accomplishment and a lack of understanding in how this played in. While he added a bunch of jargon that I found that was unrelated to this particular story line he seemed to rush though smaller cases that was brought up in the story and rushed through them. Although Grisham being such a great author he had his standard twists and turns as he does in other books, but it was very predictiable, and was not my favorite read by Grishma to date.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
coudnt put it down! read it and enjoy. grisham at his best
bookholiday More than 1 year ago
I've read all John Grisham's books and loved each, so can't wait to read the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not one of Grisham best work.
western More than 1 year ago
This book starts out slow and when you get to the point of saying to yourself where is this going? Then it hits the road and your off on another JG thriller of the minds and hearts of men and women that touch the Law and are forever are changed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First i wondered if my taste was changing or if Mr. Grisham lost his zeal. But upon completing the book i have to say that it feels as if this book was rushed or that the author stopped caring. Kinda feels like a book written for contract puproses using name and name alone inspired this work of fiction. Halfway through i grew bored as it mutteled oger mundain matters nd used lots of words seeming to flill the blank spaces. By this time is was evident how the story would end but still, it continued to babble on and add nothing new and exciting. Also took too much time explaining itself and the characters. Im still a fan and am hoping abduction brings me back and reinvigerate me as king of torts, the firm. The partner and so on. Im hopping.......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book started off like a cozy. It has well developed characters, and, unusual in a Grisham book, it's actually funny.
JenniWickham More than 1 year ago
I give a 3.5 to this one. While this is not really a mystery per se (it has no murder or any other crime in it), it is definitely engaging legal drama in the civil litigation arena. What struck me most and made it a very entertaining read is the humour - the loveable (almost Dickensian) character Wally, the ambulance chasing pet dog AC, and the loud secretary Rochelle, paired with an occasional secondary character like DeeAnna, makes a colourful ensemble of characters that litters the pages with hilarious situations and laugh out loud humour. The plot is a bit predictable, but the character casting is superb. The narrative and the prose is what I call "utilitarian." I guess this is not supposed to be literary fiction. John Grisham pulls of a nice, very satisfying, though very predictable, ending in this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Grisham owns the genre of legal thriller. A+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought the litigators was a little slow, and there weren't really any characters that I was rooting for. Didn't enjoy it as much as I usually like Grisham's novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only grisham could put so many great laughs intoa story about lawyers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had read some reviews that lead me to believe this might not be a typical GRISHAM GREAT. So wrong! Anotger great read. Glad I bought it ti add to my collection!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grisham delievers in this exciting,page turner book.the characters are interesting as well as the storyline.
deloFL More than 1 year ago
Although John Grisham books are usally exciting this one crawls along at a very slow pace.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a reviewer, a reader, and a retired lawyer, I enjoyed The Litigators immensely and wonder what more one can expect from a legal novel that is marketed to a wide audience.
LouFin More than 1 year ago
This book read like it was just written because Grisham wanted to write something because he needed money or? Not what I expected, no mystery, no plot, no real story. LouFinley
Babette-dYveine More than 1 year ago
I've read about twenty of John Grisham's books and enjoyed them all (or else I wouldn't have continued reading them), but this was by far my favorite. It was fun from beginning to end! The characters were quirky, the plot believable, and, as usual, I learned a little about The Law. There is also a serious sub-plot, which only serves to enhance the story and add credibility to the main character. I recommend it very highly!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as good as others I've read.
dannN on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not what I expected from Grisham. The book starts slowly and lampoons the lowly end of the legal fraternity. It seems hardly likely that a Harvard trained attorney would hitch his star to two has-been street lawyers! Nor would an attorney appear in court with nothing to say and try to wing his way through a trial. It took a while to get into this novel and when the pace did warm up, I was keen to see how the plot would work out, but the ending was predictable.
ashmolean1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. It was very entertaining. Grisham added humour to his usual courtroom dramas.
everfresh1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Usual Grisham - easy, quick, entertaining read. I didn't find the main character realistic though. Do such 'saint' litigation lawyers exist?