I Remember Atticus: Inspiring Stories Every Trial Lawyer Should Know

I Remember Atticus: Inspiring Stories Every Trial Lawyer Should Know

  • Jim M. Perdue
  • 1 volume; hardcover
  • 164 pages
  • © 2004
  • $55.00

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The stories in I Remember Atticus: Inspiring Stories Every Trial Lawyer Should Know range from ancient to contemporary, exploring the origins of our modern civil justice system and revealing its deep spiritual and philosophical roots. Author Jim M. Perdue takes inspiration from Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird to remind us of the qualities of faith, freedom, equality, courage, and perseverance that inform the American spirit—values without which justice cannot prevail.

In this entertaining and instructive book, we learn of a prophet who divines a rule of legal procedure so fundamental today that many lawyers do not know its ancient origins. We see a single brave juror more than three centuries ago lead his fellows to defy the authorities and go to jail rather than deliver a false verdict. We read of a courageous lawyer defending a man condemned and convicted by the forces of wealth and power before even being tried. We begin to understand the true meaning of heroism when we read of a judge who ignores the malicious bigotry of his community to set aside an unjust verdict. And we learn what perseverance means from the actions of a small group of taxpayers enduring the most trying of circumstances in a quest for equality that transforms American society.

These and other stories help us appreciate the unique role of the citizen jury in our democracy. Though he struggled in vain for his client and his cause, Atticus Finch fought to make the jury system work because he knew that the independent jury is fundamental to our freedoms. Perdue’s stories remind us why.

I Remember Atticus is more than a collection of inspiring stories. It is also an indispensable resource for the trial lawyer seeking more effective persuasion techniques. Perdue gives generously of his wealth of trial experience to show how novices and veterans alike may use our core values for practical advocacy. And he does so in a way that entertains, informs, and inspires.

CONTENTS

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Introduction

Chapter 1: Faith
Chapter 2: Freedom
Chapter 3: Equality
Chapter 4: Courage
Chapter 5: Perserverance
Chapter 6: Facts Every Trial Lawyer Should Know
Chapter 7: Inspiring with Your Trial Story

Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Praise for I Remember Atticus

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The stories in I Remember Atticus remind that our founding fathers, intent on preserving freedoms, cherished and protected the citizen’s right to submit his cause to an independent jury. Those freedoms have been protected and nurtured throughout history and today by courageous individuals and ordinary citizens who judge, litigate, and loyally serve in providing their collective wisdom in civil and criminal cases. One need not agree with all of Perdue’s propositions to be inspired in these challenging times by stories of courage, sacrifice, and perseverance.
Barbara Radnofsky, Vinson & Elkins, Houston

I Remember Atticus masterfully demonstrates how the use of parables, analogies and stories based upon basic American values forms a solid basis for effective advocacy. Every trial lawyer should have and use a copy of this book.
Ronald Krist, Krist Law Firm, Houston

Perdue is correct in saying “being a trial lawyer is hard cheese.” There is a bucket load of reasons that Jim explores, but most importantly he gives the experienced and inexperienced trial lawyer alike the tools to overcome. These range from the facts and figures that will debunk the myths that drive public perception to the weaving of inspirational stories that bring out the goodness in all of us. Jim has a long-standing national reputation for mastery in the art of verbal storytelling. With this book he proves the gift of written storytelling is his as well, a rare combination.
Don Keenan, Past President, Inner Circle of Advocate

When my journey as a storyteller required that I understand the heart and soul of a gifted Texas trial lawyer, the search ended with the early writings of Jim Perdue. I Remember Atticus reminds us in this cynical age that the law was once, and must be again, a noble profession undertaken without apology by our best and brightest. While this inspirational book should be the touchstone of any attorney called to the plaintiff bar, it deserves a far wider read.
David Marion Wilkinson, Award-winning author of One Ranger, Oblivion’s Altar, and Not Between Brothers

This book tells the vital story of our courts, the people who fought and died to create and preserve them, and the corporate interests committed to closing courthouse doors to all but the wealthy and powerful. Every American should read this book.
– Paula Sweeney, Howie & Sweeney, Dallas

What a pleasure it was to read Jim Perdue’s I Remember Atticus. As a trial lawyer for over forty years, most of the stories were in fact known to me—but not in the engrossing detail presented in this book. Remembering these stories is important. Inspiration kindles courage—a commodity always in demand but sometimes in short supply. For me the most inspiring part of the book is not found in these wonderful stories but in Jim Perdue’s words at the beginning of the book. Any lawyer worth his or her salt will feel a tingle when reading them, and not a few will finish with moist eyes.
George W. Shadoan, Shadoan & Michael, Rockville, Maryland

Jim Perdue has put together a beautiful road map for the trial lawyer. I found almost in every page useful material in every phase of the personal injury case, beginning with voir dire, opening statement, and the close. I intend to plagiarize (steal, if you must) many aspects of his observations and will probably quote him, adopting his most eloquent statements as my own.
Robert M. Montgomery, Jr., Montgomery & Larson, West Palm Beach, Florida

Jim Perdue knows that jurors don’t decide cases—they decide case stories. Here, he draws long-neglected threads right back to their beginnings in our cultural and literary history. He presents these seminal stories as what they are: the foundation of our sense of all that’s right and good about citizen jurors hearing and deciding the stories before them. Tennyson purportedly said, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” And, throughout, it is the true enthusiasm Jim brings to every courtroom presentation depicted in the book which trial attorneys would do well not to miss, if only to let a little rub off on them. The chapter where he takes on popular myths versus the real story of tort trials in today’s America is worth the time all by itself.
Eric Oliver, MetaSystems, Inc.

No lawyer should fail to reabsorb all of these tales, which most of us knew and many have forgotten. The uplifting of spirit provided by this book is unbeatable!
William R. Edwards, Edwards Law Firm, Corpus Christi