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Legal Legends

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Legal Legends

Brien Roche

The American Bar Association Journal recently published a listing of the 25 favorite legal books of all time.  These might be called legal legends. Many of them are legal thrillers but many of them are books that we may have read as children that pre-date the era of legal thrillers.

Top Legal Novels

The Ox-Bow Incident published in 1940 was the study of the lynching of three innocent men in a western town.  The author’s view of mob justice is generally now viewed as being a work of genius.

Native Son by Richard Wright was also published in 1940.  The main character in this novel is Bigger Thomas, a young Chicago black man whose discomfort with white people drives him into increasingly deeper trouble.  He is eventually condemned to death for two murders.  The novel is based on the real-life case of Robert Nixon, who was executed for murder in 1938. 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was published in 1850.  Although technically not a legal book, it involved the honor of a fallen woman by the name of Hester Prynne, who had an affair with the pastor of her puritan church.  Hester survived the indignity of wearing the scarlet A and insisted on thereafter making substantial contributions to her community.

Billy Budd by Herman Melville was published in 1924.  Budd was a model sailor onboard a British warship.  He was falsely accused by the ship’s second-in-command of mutiny.  Budd struck the accuser with such force as to kill him and was thereafter tried for murder by the Captain and found guilty and hung.  The book deals with the rule of law over the sense of justice.

 Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is a tale of justice about a peasant condemned to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. 

The Trial by Franz Kafka written in 1925 is a tale of a curious trial wherein the accuser and the accusations are both unspecified.  As such there can be no justice.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens published in 1852 involves a murder wherein Lady Dedlock is suspected.  In the novel Dickens gives an ongoing account of another case involving estate issues that drags on from generation to generation until the money runs out.

In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky deals with a man who has murdered an elderly pawnbroker as part of a premeditated murder-robbery and he also kills the pawnbroker’s sister.  The accused subsequently finds himself unable to bear the psychological burden of his guilt.

The ultimate classic is of course To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee published in 1960.  The lawyer, Atticus Finch, loses his biggest case but cites the memorable line, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

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Legal Legends

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Legal Legends

Brien Roche

The American Bar Association Journal recently published a listing of the 25 favorite legal books of all time.  These might be called legal legends. Many of them are legal thrillers but many of them are books that we may have read as children that pre-date the era of legal thrillers.

Top Legal Novels

The Ox-Bow Incident published in 1940 was the study of the lynching of three innocent men in a western town.  The author’s view of mob justice is generally now viewed as being a work of genius.

Native Son by Richard Wright was also published in 1940.  The main character in this novel is Bigger Thomas, a young Chicago black man whose discomfort with white people drives him into increasingly deeper trouble.  He is eventually condemned to death for two murders.  The novel is based on the real-life case of Robert Nixon, who was executed for murder in 1938. 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne was published in 1850.  Although technically not a legal book, it involved the honor of a fallen woman by the name of Hester Prynne, who had an affair with the pastor of her puritan church.  Hester survived the indignity of wearing the scarlet A and insisted on thereafter making substantial contributions to her community.

Billy Budd by Herman Melville was published in 1924.  Budd was a model sailor onboard a British warship.  He was falsely accused by the ship’s second-in-command of mutiny.  Budd struck the accuser with such force as to kill him and was thereafter tried for murder by the Captain and found guilty and hung.  The book deals with the rule of law over the sense of justice.

 Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is a tale of justice about a peasant condemned to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. 

The Trial by Franz Kafka written in 1925 is a tale of a curious trial wherein the accuser and the accusations are both unspecified.  As such there can be no justice.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens published in 1852 involves a murder wherein Lady Dedlock is suspected.  In the novel Dickens gives an ongoing account of another case involving estate issues that drags on from generation to generation until the money runs out.

In Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky deals with a man who has murdered an elderly pawnbroker as part of a premeditated murder-robbery and he also kills the pawnbroker’s sister.  The accused subsequently finds himself unable to bear the psychological burden of his guilt.

The ultimate classic is of course To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee published in 1960.  The lawyer, Atticus Finch, loses his biggest case but cites the memorable line, “The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation