|Now an audio
of a Country Lawyer
“Who does he think he is?” – Alan Dershowitz
“Who is he?” – Gerry Spence
“Who?” – F. Lee Bailey
“A Socratic gadfly” – Professor Hall
“Funny and smart!” – Professor Erika Brady,
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“A master storyteller” – Patrick A. Ross, Horse Cave
“It is magnificent ” – Barton D. Darrell, Bowling Green
“War Stories represents the real practice of law by real attorneys in real courtrooms” – John David Cole, Bowling Green
“I stayed up all night reading it” – Kim Polson
“Thank you for the book, and for all your help” – Delores Hayes
“Now that I have completed the Bumppo School of Law, do I get a diploma?” – Cathie Scott
“A delightful account of life” – D. Kaye Miller
“Bravo! You have created brandy-tasting tales in the spirit of Rabelais, Voltaire, Mark Twain and Damon Runyon, among others sneering with ferocious joy at the sparkling madness of the world. It is fine stuff and deserves a big stage and at least one guffaw-riddled movie. Keep firing!” – Richard R. Roberts
“I can only imagine the joy you had writing it” – Keith Hatfield
Every lawyer with any experience – at least, every trial lawyer – has a treasure chest of “war stories”: Accounts of internecine courtroom battles, battles with clients, threats from clients’ husbands, battles with insurance companies and doctors, etc., etc. Most of these stories have more than a trace of humor.
“War stories” are exchanged among attorneys at bars, at bar conventions, and in conference rooms where they await trials, docket calls and depositions. Occasionally a lawyer gets tired of fighting the battles and settles in to write about them. Some of these accounts even get published. I recall how impressed I was, as a young man, with Louis Nizer’s My Life in Court, which came out in 1961. Since then we have been treated to the written recollections of Melvin Belli, F. Lee Bailey, Edward Bennett Williams, Gerry Spence, and Johnnie Cochran.
There are two differences between those guys and me:
1. They were major generals; I was a foot soldier.
2. They never lost a case. . . .
. . . If you think it is amusing that blacks name their children Major, Colonel, Doctor and Lawyer (and Placenta), you need to comb through the files of a redneck country lawyer. . . . I had a male client – a farmer, married, with children and grandchildren – whose given name was Girlie. . . .
Lanny Bailey walked out on the streets of Bowling Green stark naked. Not a stitch on. Shortly before 10 p.m. on a chilly evening early in March.
Lanny was not all there. His wife said that he had been “arguing with God.”
And a policeman shot him. In the middle of the street. Dead. Two plugs in the middle of the heart.
In self-defense, the cop said. Lanny was carrying a pocket knife.
I was retained by Lanny’s widow, Katie. To sue the cop, and the City, right? . . .
The courtroom . . . was heated by a pot-bellied stove, stoked by the Jailer. A bell rope hung from the Courthouse steeple into the middle of the courtroom, right above the jury box – tied, at the bottom end, in a hangman’s noose. . . .
A local lawyer actually entered the courtroom once carrying a burning lantern, with Court in session, and responded, when asked from the bench what he was doing, that he was “looking for an honest judge.” . . .
“Over hamburgers sold!”