Care for Coffey?
I spent some time with Kendall Coffey, Esq. recently and a longer essay will appear in a future issue of Gold Coast. But for the moment, let’s plug his new book, Spinning the Law: Trying Cases in the Court of Public Opinion. As the title suggests, it has to do with lawyers playing the press. The first chapter goes from Scott Rothstein to Joan of Arc, a pretty good historic wingspan. If that sounds like a readable book, it is. Coffey deals with many cases, from the O.J. Simpson trial to the recent Rod Blagojevich. Even in cases on which he was on the losing side, he points out how the cases changed law, mostly for the better. In general he values the First Amendment, which made me like him right away. He obviously likes reporters, even though not all his own press has been wonderful.
As a former U.S. attorney, he has been watching the corruption scandals breaking on the Gold Coast, first in
Coffey’s book is filled with names we all know. He mentions Roy Black a number of times –interesting because both men have similar styles. Low key, respectful, almost courtly. A jury just likes them from the go, especially when they have read about them in the papers. Forget that nonsense about jurors not knowing about a sensational case in advance. That is one of the themes of this book. It makes it as good a read for lawyers as it is for those of us in the fourth estate. By the way, what are the three estates in front of us?
He’s not local, but the name Richard Sprague is in the book. Sprague, still active in his 80s, is a brilliant Philadelphia lawyer, who in the late 1970s went to