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Portraits by Other Means

Mind the Law

Mind the Law
Credit: nate bolt

I have a great lawyer—my uncle. He’s helped me with some shady stuff, like speeding tickets and my taxes. Here are some other lawyers you should know about.

John Henry Browne

“Attorney John Henry Browne,” read a headline on the cover of Pacific, a Seattle news magazine. “He shoots from the hip to defend the notorious.”

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His father worked on the Manhattan Project and later for the Atomic Energy Commission. Mr. Browne played bass in the Crystal Palace Guard, a band that opened for some of the most popular bands of the 1960s. His office includes a black-and-white etching of a somber Abraham Lincoln, a framed 45 of “Imagine,” by John Lennon and a sculpture of a laughing Buddha. He is happy to talk about “the curse of awareness” and how he struggles “to keep my ego under control.”

“My skeletons aren’t in the closet,” he said. “They’re on the front lawn.”  

Judy Clarke

Those who have seen her in action say her knowledge of the law, her passion for justice and her ability to empathize with clients who are charged with the most violent crimes make her a unique force in the courtroom.

David Kaczynski, whose brother, Ted, was convicted of killing three people and injuring 23 others over a 20-year span, said Clarke patiently tried to connect with his brother, despite his mental illness.

Johnnie Cochran

Mr. Cochran mostly enjoyed the references to him in films and on late-night television, where he was both admired as a singularly effective trial lawyer and mocked for his smooth style and court rhetoric.

He pleaded guilty to charges of extravagance and flamboyance.

“I like to get paid well and I like to enjoy the rewards of my work,” he wrote.

Roy Den Hollander

Roy Den Hollander is a Manhattan lawyer and a self-described antifeminist. Over the past year, he has sued Manhattan nightclubs for favoring women by offering ladies’ night discounts and has sued the federal government over a law that protects women from violence.

And now Columbia University has come within his sights. On Monday, he filed a lawsuit in United States District Court in Manhattan against Columbia for offering women’s studies courses, which Mr. Den Hollander sees as discriminatory toward men. His class-action suit accuses Columbia of using government aid to preach a “religionist belief system called feminism.”

Giovanni di Stefano

My subject is sitting on a couch in the club house talking on his mobile phone to a client who seems to be on trial for murdering his wife. He is saying, “We know you didn’t murder your wife but we’ve got to prove it.” I feel this is a conversation that should be taking place in private, but Di Stefano seems happy for me to eavesdrop.

Jacques Vergès

SPIEGEL: Would you still feel so positively about Mao, given the knowledge we have today, the knowledge of the 30 million starvation deaths for which he was already responsible then, as a result of his “Great Leap Forward?”

Vergès: I believe that everyone has good qualities and weaknesses. I had the great fortune of only getting to know Mao’s positive side.

SPIEGEL: You also met Che Guevara.

Vergès: Yes, in Paris. He was just returning from a trip to Switzerland. He first wife was working in our editorial offices. He was impressive, a man with incredible charisma.

biopic

TMN Editor Leah Finnegan is from Illinois by way of Texas. She splits her time between New York City and her website. More by Leah Finnegan