The Lawyer Who Blew Up His Desk and Other Tales of Legal Madness
By Joseph Matthews
A collection of amusing and touching war stories, The Lawyer Who Blew Up His Desk includes the tale about how one lawyer cleared his caseload.
Ten Speed Press (1998)
Reviewed by: Eric Howard
Joseph Matthews has a talent for deadpan humor and for pathos, and his legal career provided him with many opportunities for displaying both.
As a criminal defense attorney in the Bay Area, he encountered many unfortunates caught in the quicksand of the justice system. He smuggled gourmet food to a jailed chef who was all but unable to eat jail fare, defended a woman who, like La Llorona of Mexican legend, killed her children in a fit of desperation brought on by abandonment and poverty, and encountered many lawyers who underwent what might charitably be called personality distortion under the pressures of practicing law.
Practicing lawyers will no doubt recognize many parallels between the lives described in this book and their own. After a long career, Matthews stopped practicing law and began writing books, and the tales in this one can help lawyers gain perspective on whatever madness may be swirling around them.
Eric Howard is associate editor of Los Angeles Lawyer.