From time to time, I am asked to review books. I don’t know why. But the idea of being asked makes me feel good, so time permitting, I generally agree. Frequently, the books are not very good. This was, most decidedly, not one of those occasions.
Your Witness is a compilation of stories. Stories about cross examination. Stories written by great trial lawyers. More precisely, stories written by great Chicago trial lawyers. Why Chicago? As the Introduction begins, quoting a friend of one of the editors, "you Chicago guys try cases." The stories are educational and instructive, to be sure. But even more so, they are riveting.
It seems like fewer and fewer cases are actually tried these days, which, from the perspective of one who loves courtroom drama, is a shame. But if you can’t be in the courtroom, this book is at least makes you feel like you’re in the courtroom. And when you’re done, if you have the soul of a trial lawyer, you’ll be as anxious as you can possibly be to be sitting in court waiting to hear your adversary utter, "your witness."
Disclaimer: One of the editors is Jim Figliulo. Jim’s mom lives across the street from me. My knowledge of how terrific a family he is part of probably could not help but make me want for this to be a great book. But I forgot all about Jim’s editorial role as I read the stories of the many distinguished authors, and I am confident Jim’s mother’s proximity did not color my judgment.