Follow a trial lawyer’s career through the demanding, often controversial, and suspenseful world of jury trials, tension-filled appeals and the different worlds of courtrooms, jail cells, corporate boardrooms, and law firms. Each of the cases in the nineteen chapters were selected from a total of his 150 jury trials to reflect issues of current importance, including refugees on the Mexican border, gargantuan gender battles inside one of the largest corporations in the world, sexual taboos on national television, accusations of terrorism, government agents who cheat, innocent prisoners in our jails, the constitutional right to speak and print the truth, bringing law to a war zone, poverty and murder on Native American Reservations, current problems of hunger in America, and more.
As a federal prosecutor and a defense lawyer, James J. Brosnahan has tried 150 jury trials and is a member of the California Trial Lawyer’s Hall of Fame. He was a senior partner at Morrison Foerster, a preeminent thousand-lawyer international law firm based in San Francisco. For 46 years he has lectured internationally for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA). He has authored articles for the American Constitutional Blog, Law 360, The California Historical Society, The Daily Journal (California’s legal paper), the New York Times, Bloomberg Law, and the Los Angeles Times. He has also appeared many times on national radio and television where he has been interviewed by ABC, CNN, Fox News, Larry King, National Public Radio, and PBS. He currently lives in Berkeley California.
Preface: The Reason I Wrote This Book
Chapter 1: The Murder of Alice Secody on the Navajo Reservation
Chapter 2: Learning to be a Lawyer
Chapter 3: San Francisco Beckons
Chapter 4: The Pressures of a National Case
Chapter 5: Defending Criminal Cases at Last
Chapter 6: A Jury Does Justice
Chapter 7: Defending the Chronicle’s Right to Publish
Chapter 8: The First Amendment Defense of a Television Movie
Chapter 9: Did I Make a Mistake Going on the Road to Hawaii?
Chapter 10: The FBI Rigged the Evidence
Chapter 11: An Awesome Woman Successfully Stands Up to a Powerful Man
Chapter 12: Defending Religion on the Mexican Border
Chapter 13: Ever Want to Cross-Examine Your Doctor?
Chapter 14: Exciting Times in the U.S. Supreme Court
Chapter 15: Iran Contra: Prosecuting Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger
Chapter 16: An Innocent Man Walks Out of Jail Seventeen Years Later
Chapter 17: Two Lawyers are Murdered in Northern Ireland
Chapter 18: They Are Stealing Our Vote
Conclusion: Who Am I Now?
About the Author
Jim is the very definition of a trial lawyer, who’s very strong belief in the legal system is reflected in all he does. He is an advocate for the rights covered under the constitution. He is a fantastic trial advocacy teacher and a wonderful storyteller. He is respected and admired by all.
A lawyer’s lawyer in the best possible sense, a lion not just of the trial bar but of the law, James J. Brosnahan has finally written the memoir every lawyer will want to read. Decorated, celebrated, and beloved, Jim is that truly rare master of both civil and criminal litigation who is also a great human being.
Jim Brosnahan has participated in important national cases for many years.
James Brosnahan is a great trial lawyer, one long recognized within the legal community as a preeminently skilled and successful advocate. He knows how to tell a story to a jury and his memoir vividly describes cases he has tried in a manner that all readers can understand and enjoy. Just about every chapter could be made into a movie, as could the compelling story he tells of his own life.
Jim Brosnahan is universally recognized in the profession as one of this country’s top attorneys and as a leading advocate for the responsibility of lawyers and judges to assure that the rule of law reflects the norms of justice. His advocacy has involved some of the most significant issues of our time, and his teaching and passion for providing access to justice on the part of the unrepresented have inspired generations of young lawyers. His memoir, combining humor with thoughtful insight about the nature of law, is bound to be of interest to the general public as well.
Jim Brosnahan has been a Lion of the Courtroom for 50 years. Whether in trial as a treasured ally or a fearsome opponent, he never wavered from demonstrating the finest qualities of a lawyer and a man. His memoir has much to teach and to emulate.
I first met Jim Brosnahan in the courtroom, where we collaborated as co-counsel or fought as opposing counsel in some of the most colorful trials of our respective legal careers that span many years. He is passionate about the law.
This is a riveting and soulful memoir that reveals the relentless pursuit of life, liberty, and justice. An international trial lawyer and trial advocacy teacher, Jim Brosnahan describes a life dedicated to seeking and solving the conflicts that threaten humanity and human dignity. This book is an inspiration to every person who wonders if they have the stamina to answer the call to the Bar.
A combination of trial lawyer memoir and the contemporary justice system, "Justice at Trial: Courtroom Battles and Groundbreaking Cases" is an extraordinary, informative, insightful, professional, and personal story of life in the law. [Very] highly recommended, especially for community, college, and university library Contemporary American Biography/Memoir collections and supplemental Judicial Studies curriculum studies lists, it should be noted for law students, academia, political law reform advocates, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.
7/12/23, KALW-FM (San Francisco, CA): Your Legal Rights host Jeff Hayden interviews James Brosnahan and calls the book a “must read.”
7/10/23, The Advocate Channel: James Brosnahan shares stories of his experiences in the courtroom.
7/15/2023, The Chris Voss Show: Chris Voss interviewed James Brosnahan about the book and his storied career.
9/27/23, Hashing Out the Law podcast: Host Arash Hashemi delves into Jim Brosnahan’s legendary career and shines a spotlight on the book.