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Departures Interview with Scott Turow

I’m going to go ahead get this out of the way at the beginning – I’m a ridiculous fanboy of Scott Turow. Those who came here looking for a withering takedown of the bestselling author, continue browsing. For those visiting for the first time, considering signing up to my newsletter for occasional updates about my firm’s global practice.

Since starting this podcast, we’ve welcomed dozens of authors in numerous fields and backgrounds, but this is our first interview with a novelist, who just also happens to be an accomplished lawyer.

For fans of legal fiction, there are few characters more memorable than Scott Turow’s protagonist, Alejandro “Sandy” Stern, whose crusading work as a defense counsel first appeared in his 1987 book, “Presumed Innocent.”

Now, with Turow’s latest novel, “The Last Trial,” it appears we are witnessing the end of a long arc of a beloved character.

In our discussion on this podcast, Turow talks about what went into the creation of Sandy Stern, and the process by which he plots his many bestselling legal thrillers. I asked Scott to share his views on the contrasting experiences of doing defense counsel work from both the large law firm side and the boutique, and how lawyers must manage their roles while fully investing themselves, personally and emotionally, into the cause of their clients, sometimes with the consequences that may bear.

“I think that the transmission of motif and milieu and information from my practice to my novels is pretty obvious,” says Turow. “It keeps me current on the law, gives me a sense of what’s going on now. On the other hand, occasionally it’s useful to be the novelist in the courtroom.”

Turow may be on to something here. Perhaps we should all approach our practices with more creativity, and bring the detail and rigor of our professions back into our pursuits of passion.