The Noble Lawyer

The Noble Lawyer

The Noble Lawyer

  • William J. Chriss
  • 1 volume; hardcover
  • 152 pages
  • © 2011
  • $55.00

“Most jury trials are contests between the rich and poor.” Clarence Darrow wrote those words in an essay titled “How to Pick a Jury,” and they are as true today as they were when he penned them in 1936. Or, as William J. Chriss writes, “The law is democracy’s chosen profession, and jury trial is the most effective tool ever devised by democratic societies to check the authoritarian impulses of the rich and powerful.”

So begins The Noble Lawyer, which takes this thesis and dissects it, along with thoroughly examining the sad state of the public’s current perception of attorneys—those brave men and women whose calling is to defend both the legal system and the very people who often criticize their profession. Frequently the subjects of jest and of mockery, attorneys now find themselves thought of as less than noble, derided more than respected, ridiculed rather than admired, and almost always misunderstood. Chriss tells us why that is and why it shouldn’t be. His defense of the legal profession is an eloquent and passionate one.

Chriss summarizes how the American legal system came to be . . . and how it came to be in the state it’s in today. The Noble Lawyer is rich with examples from history, books, film, television, and modern life: examples of what it means to be a lawyer. Or, more importantly, what it should mean to be one.

Every attorney should read this book. Everyone who knows an attorney should read this book. And we should all take from it a better understanding of why lawyers are so misunderstood and just how very wrong that is. Without attorneys, democracy itself could not exist. We have attorneys to thank for defending our every freedom, and we have William J. Chriss to thank for bringing this to our attention in The Noble Lawyer.


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Foreward by Gerry Spence

Chapter 1: The Common-Law Heritage and the Law of Torts

Chapter 2: Culture Wars: Legal Humor and the Rise of Lawyer Bashing

Chapter 3: Political Wars: The Truth About Hot Coffee and Lawsuit Abuse

Chapter 4: Policy Wars: The Changing Topography of Dispute Resolution

Chapter 5: The External Aspect of Legal Ethics, Its Effects on Lawyers and Clients, and the Dynamics of Striking Back

Chapter 6: The Noble Lawyer Paradigm

Reviews for The Noble Lawyer

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This is a time of rapid change in the legal profession. Much of it is not good, as William J. Chriss points out in his book, The Noble Lawyer. This thought-provoking book will, I believe, attempt to begin a conversation about how the “archetypal memory of a noble lawyer” has morphed into the image of the greedy lawyer.

The conversation is an important one. Texas, writes Chriss, is an epicenter of changes such as lawyer bashing and the lawsuit abuse movement. He encourages all of us to think more about recent changes and to expand the conversation beyond lawyers to involve the lay community.
Sarah Weddington
The Weddington Center
Former Texas Representative

I have been waiting quite a while for someone to write this book. The Noble Lawyer finally tells the truth about tort reform and disrespect for the jury system. It exposes recent attacks on lawyers for what they are, attacks on American democracy, the rule of law, and justice itself. It is a book every American would enjoy reading.
Morris Dees
Founder and Chief Trial Counsel
Southern Poverty Law Center

Chriss has written a wonderful book that should be read by everyone, lawyer and layman alike. It’s a lesson in American jurisprudence. It’s written in a most readable and entertaining fashion. And, if you read the last chapter first, it will only excite you to read the rest of the book!
Mark White
Former Governor of Texas

A compelling and thought-provoking view of attorneys and the legal system with insights as to how we can preserve their vital role in our democracy.
Martha Dickie
Past President of the State Bar of Texas
Almanza, Blackburn & Dickie, LLP

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