The Street Lawyer

Version: Abridged
Author: John Grisham
Narrator: Michael Beck
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Mystery, Thriller & Horror
Publisher: BDD Audio
Published In: February 1998
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 5 hours
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Michael was in a hurry. He was scrambling up the ladder at Drake & Sweeney, a giant D.C. law firm with eight hundred lawyers. The money was good and getting better; a partnership was three years away. He was a rising star with no time to waste, no time to stop, no time to toss a few coins into the cups of panhandlers. No time for a conscience.

But a violent encounter with a homeless man stopped him cold. Michael survived; his assailant did not. Who was this man? Michael did some digging, and learned that he was a mentally ill veteran who'd been in and out of shelters for many years. Then Michael dug a little deeper, and found a dirty secret, and the secret involved Drake & Sweeney.

The fast track derailed; the ladder collapsed. Michael bolted the firm and took a top-secret file with him. He landed in the streets, an advocate for the homeless, a street lawyer.

And a thief.

Reviews (16)


Written by Anonymous on November 30th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Just an overall good Grisham book! I'd recommend.


Written by Dan on July 15th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Both read and listened to a lot of Grisham's novels, this one was kind of lack luster and a little preachy. It's not bad if you just want something to listen to but it seemed like it took a story out of the back of the newspaper and just added character development and a little more plot to it. I would say this is one of the lesser Grisham's.

Street Lawyer

Written by Bruce Curson on April 27th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Grisham will always be good. Personally, I would have preferred the unabridged version and even though this was an abbreviated listening experience, the 5 CDs masterfully presented a vivid picture of the plight of the homeless through Grisham's masterful story telling.

Street Lawyer

Written by Pamela Christensen on March 18th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Loved it! Would have really liked to listen to an unabridged version because it needed a bigger transition from big time lawyer to street lawyer. But a very good listen. It certainly picked at my conscience about the homeless and how they're treated!

street lawyer

Written by Anonymous on March 14th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Another good book from J. Grisham The story flowed and was interesting to follow this through to be an advocate for the homeless. It has heart

Street Lawyer

Written by Lidia Sparacio from Corona, CA on September 24th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

A typical Grisham book that delves into another area of the law to enlighten those of us who are not in the business. A good story with good characters.


Written by Diane from Harlan, KY on June 29th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

As an assistant in a law office I love courtroom dramas and this one had plenty drama to offer. You could really feel the pressure in each decision made by the main character. I felt as if one act by any individual really could make all the difference, either for the good or for the bad. I loved the ethical vs. unethical storyline and the acknowledgment that there are attorneys who fight for the cause, not the funds.

Good Book

Written by Anonymous from Grand Rapids, MI on March 25th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Overall good book and it is interesting until the last minute

the street lawyer

Written by Cecilia Lyda on November 13th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

i listened and read this book a couple of years ago and it is still my favorite john grisham book. there is a lot of heart in this one and the characters are so real that they come alive, if you read only one of his books make this the one. i just loved it and i have read every one of his books, i am now looking for another one and can't get enough of john grisham's writings. thank you john grisham for your fantastic imagination.

STREET LAWYER lack of suspense

Written by Dale Hansen on April 12th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 3/5

I felt less involvement with this John Grisham work than any previously. Perhaps it was my choosing the abridged verson. I shall not make that mistake again.

Author Details

Author Details

Grisham, John

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career—and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, and The Broker) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 225 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marks his first foray into non-fiction.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500—the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.