Friday, July 19, 2013

F. Lee Bailey is coming back

I was preparing a post on language tools, when I thought of F. Lee Bailey. A quote from his book "To Be a Trial Lawyer" will be a great opener for the subject. I searched for the links and found out that he was actually disbarred for several years and just recently (June 2013) got his clearance to practice law again.

I discovered F. Lee Bailey by following a tip from Elliott Wilcox, who mentioned the book in his "Trial Tips" weekly newspaper (itself an invaluable resource, provided by Elliott free of charge). Given that the book was published in 1994 and is now available on Amazon at a discount, I got a copy and found it a hard one to put down.

On the subject of language, many authors, from Aristotle and Cicero to Scalia and Garner, teach that it is a very important, if not the most important, set of skills for an attorney to learn. But F. Lee Bailey succeeded in summing it up--either you get it, or you are out. The his of the book is delivered in a similar plain and unpretentious style, frankly telling you about the way things are. A highly recommended reading.

So it was great to learn today that Mr. Bailey is back at full speed, passing the bar exam, prevailing in his quest to be allowed to practice, and even announcing a new book. His story reminded me of Judah Benjamin, Q.C., who also had to restart his legal career at an advanced age, yet still succeeded, to the extent that he "made the largest income of any counsel of his time," as noted in Serjeant Benjamin Coulson Robinson's "Bench and Bar**." Mr. Benjamin's problem was that he first was a US attorney, who joined South in the Civil War and then had to escape to UK after war ended. There, he re-adjusted himself for the London bar, learned the differences in law and procedure, became admitted, and then enjoyed a very successful practice. I wish Mr. Bailey to claim soon a no lesser success!

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