Lawyer as critic: analysing the legal thriller through the works of John Grisham, Erle Stanley Gardner and Harper Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

Abstract

Focusing on selected ‘classic’ novels by John Grisham, with reference to how they are informed by the earlier works of Erle Stanley Gardner and Harper Lee,this paper explores how these authors, writing in the legal thriller genre, present their lawyer protagonists as critics of both the law and the legal systems of which they are a part. Both Gardner’s and Grisham’s writings have been the focus of much criticism from legal scholars who suggest they are unduly critical of lawyers and provide outlandishly happy endings. This article challenges these criticisms by analysing how Gardner’s and Grisham’s narratives explore notions of law’s contingency on crime and materiality. In this way the article concludes that these narratives offer a way of understanding how just practitioners can operate in an unjust system and therefore constitute a powerful interrogation of how law operates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalTEXT: JOURNAL OF WRITING AND WRITING COURSES
VolumeSpecial Issues Series
Issue number37
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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