VOYA - Nancy Zachary
Legal issues dominate the American news media, so it is appropriate that two collections about lawyers and their cases have been published for YA readers. Both titles present biographical data, photos, and important case details in a readable, well-documented format that is accessible for the middle school researcher and the high school student looking for basic facts. Bibliographies include ample material for further study. Entries are similar in length and style, and I applaud their focus on the historical significance of each of the lawyer's prominent cases. Both volumes provide solid perspective on the time period, whether Emert is discussing Lincoln in the 1850s, or Calabro is describing F. Lee Bailey and the world of the O. J. Simpson trial. Three individuals overlap in both volumes: Belva Lockwood, Clarence Darrow, and Robert H. Jackson. In an ideal YA collection, both titles could stand side by side, confirming the current and historical American fascination with legal expertise. If a choice had to be made between the two, Emert addresses more historic figures with a slightly younger voice, while Calabro probes the controversial through inclusion of Sarah Weddington and Linda Fairstein. Both volumes beckon the reader to comprehend our legal system's significance in American life. Index. Illus. Photos. Biblio. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: Great Courtroom Lawyers: Fighting the Cases that Made History and Top Lawyers and Their Famous Cases. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Emert profiles eight notable American lawyers from the colonial period to the present. Each chapter includes biographical information and emphasizes an outstanding legal case. The book starts with Alexander Hamilton's skillful defense of freedom of the press that influenced the passage of the First Amendment and concludes with Morris Dees's successful civil suit against the Ku Klux Klan that forced it to be financially accountable for the violent actions of its members. In between, readers learn how Abraham Lincoln's years of legal experience helped prepare him for the presidency and the conflicts of the Civil War, discover why Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson's role as prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials was the most enduring work of his life, and find out how Joseph Welsh used television to expose the exploitative tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Bella Lockwood, the lone woman, is portrayed as an outspoken advocate of women's rights and a brilliant attorney who helped the Cherokee nation collect their long-standing monetary claim against the U.S. government. The author writes with clarity and admiration, showing how these individuals played a critical role in interpreting the laws of the United States and the Constitution. Over 50 good-quality archival photos appear throughout. A suitable resource for reports as well as a good choice for general reading.-Judith L. Miller, formerly at Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, IN
According to Emert, the eight lawyers profiled in this book all shared a "commitment to the causes of justice, fairness, and equality." Andrew Hamilton, John Adams, and Abraham Lincoln played prominent leadership roles in American history. Belva Lockwood, the first woman lawyer to appear before the US Supreme Court, assisted the Cherokee Indians in their monetary claim against the government. Clarence Darrow (the Scopes trial), Robert H. Jackson (the German war-crimes trial), and Joseph Welch (the McCarthy hearings) exemplified lawyers whose trial skills were at the highest levels. Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and "the first attorney to file suit against a racist organization," has won substantial monetary judgments against the Ku Klux Klan and the White Aryan Resistance; his work continues today.
Emert (All That Glitters, 1995, not reviewed, etc.) presents legal theories in clear and concise language; the tone is intentionally admirable in keeping with the book's goal of counteracting the negative image of lawyers. It meets and surpasses that goal, hands down.