Trial and Error: The Education of a Courtroom Lawyer

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Basic Books, Mar 25, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 368 pages
Trial and Error offers an unexpurgated examination of the past half-century of American jurisprudence through the life of one of America's most celebrated and accomplished lawyers. Here is John C. Tucker, a man who twice argued before the Supreme Court and won, challenged the nefarious and discriminatory practice of "contract lending" and lost, participated in such monumental cases as the Chicago Eight trial following the calamitous 1968 Democratic Convention—and retired at age fifty-one, securely established as one of the most respected jurists of his generation. In Trial and Error, he describes with poise and wit his encounters with as varied a cast of characters as Muhammad Ali, Abbie Hoffman, and Chief Justice Earl Warren, while chronicling the remarkable successes, and sobering disappointments, of his distinguished career. This is an honest and uncompromising analysis of the events that have shaped our court system, and the inspiring story of a man for principle in an increasingly unprincipled age for the legal profession.

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TRIAL AND ERROR: The Education of a Courtroom Lawyer

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In his impeccably detailed memoir, trial lawyer Tucker (May God Have Mercy, 1997) takes readers through some of the most celebrated and notorious courtroom dramas of the 20th century.You expect an ... Read full review


1 Learning the Ropes
2 Progress
3 Looking for Justice
4 Trial of the Century
5 Forests Trees and the Fruits of Experience
6 Politics Patronage and Paying Clients
7 Losingand Winning
8 Some Good Guys and Some Bad Guys
9 Leavings

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About the author (2009)

John C. Tucker attended Princeton University and the University of Michigan Law School before joining the Chicago law firm Jenner and Block. In 1974 he was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers, and in 1984 was named one of the country's best criminal defense lawyers in The Best Lawyers in America. He is the author of the critically acclaimed May God Have Mercy, on the controversial execution of Virginian Roger Coleman. He now lives in Virginia with his wife, Jayne Barnard, a law professor.

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