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In a society ever more obsessed with legal drama, David Boies, the star of a thousand press conferences, stands head and shoulders above the rest. The most prominent trial lawyer in the United States, Boies was catapulted to international prominence when he represented Al Gore before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, in the aftermath of the 2000 presidential election. But well before the word “chad” entered our lexicon, Boies had participated in a string of headline-making cases, representing the Justice Department against Microsoft, CBS against General Westmoreland, and Napster against the recording industry. Brash, reckless, and prideful, he is also charming, charismatic, unerringly articulate in the courtroom, and supremely comfortable in the public eye. He is the epitome of the celebrity attorney and a peerless practitioner of the art of law.
Legal journalist Karen Donovan, herself a lawyer, had unprecedented access to Boies for nearly two years, accompanying him on his high-profile cases and recording the workings of his brilliant yet erratic mind. She gives us a scintillating chronicle of the legal dramas in which Boies has played a crucial role. And drawing on extensive interviews with his former colleagues, she provides insightful analyses of his strategies, his skills, his effectiveness, his penchant for personal renown, and his flaws.
The story of a singularly gifted lawyer—his ambition, judgment, and sense of justice—v. Goliath is also an illuminating examination of a profession that, increasingly, confuses ideals and celebrity.
“A complex portrait. . . . Donovan was given extraordinary access to Mr. Boies, and it paid off.” —The New York Sun
“Incisive. . . . [An] invaluable depiction of a man as complicated and contradictory as he is gifted.” —New York Law Journal
“Insightful. . . . A sure, skeptical account of Boies’s rise to the top of the legal realm.” —Publishers Weekly
“Here a colorful life takes on some color [with Donovan’s] significant access to Boies and his inner circle.” —Los Angeles Times
“Is it really possible that the biography of a lawyer—a lawyer!—can be unputdownable? It is if the lawyer in question is David Boies and the biographer is Karen Donovan. Boies has been involved in some of the most memorable cases in modern times, and Donovan recounts those cases—and the man behind them—with both cool intelligence and plenty of verve. Shrewd, engaging, and deeply reported, v. Goliath is, above, all else, a splendid read.”—Jospeh Nocera, editorial director, Fortune
“It's a provocative look at the nature of celebrity and how it has reshaped the practice of law.” —Marianne Lavelle, senior writer, U.S. News & World Report