Book Review - Articles

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Posted by: Lynn Pointer on Mar 19, 2013

by Sam Gowin

I strongly recommend what has become a classic, McElhaney’s Trial Notebook (4th Ed. ABA, 2005).

James McElhaney has written trial practice articles for the ABA magazine for many years. If you are familiar with those articles, you know that McElhaney uses lots of war stories, analogies, quips to make his points. This book is a vast collection of those articles arranged by topic. The information in this book is directly useful to a solo or general practicing attorney whether you do a lot of trial work or not. When a trial pops up for a transactional attorney, this book provides a quick reference. Besides that, it is hard to think of another practice manual that is such a page turner.

There is a wonderful section on the law of evidence where McElhaney identifies the principles behind the otherwise confusing rules of evidence. He also has interesting sections about how to keep clients happy and how to get rid of rotten cases.

As criticism, the author only picks the specific topics of interest to him, so it is far from exhaustive. Also, some of the principles are not applicable in every jurisdiction.

Reading the articles is also very motivational. It has made me want to be more precise and thoughtful in my practice.

Bio: Sam Gowin is a solo practitioner and former engineer practicing in Chattanooga. He practices small business law, banking law and hotel law. He is very proud of his wonderful wife, Sarah, and his brand new baby boy, Jack.