Book Review: The Rainmaker by John Grisham


The Rainmaker, by John Grisham, 1995

Rudy Baylor is in his last year of law school, struggling to put himself through school. When a promising, prospective job falls through, he finds himself the only one in his class without a job offer at graduation.

Forced to the streets, Baylor takes on an insurance claim that will test him in every imaginable way.

The author pulls the reader irresistibly into Rudy’s world where the new lawyer laments, “I don’t feel stupid, just inadequate. After three years of studying the law, I’m very much aware of how little I know.”

Grisham builds plots that educate the reader about schemes and corporate wrongdoing, and this is where the author’s legal background comes on strong.

The general public often views personal injury lawyers as greedy and sleazy, but Grisham masterfully tempers this view. Rather than defending them as saints, he shows the determination that many a lawyer has felt when fighting for a case worth believing in. As Rudy said, “I’m alone and outgunned, scared and inexperienced, but I’m right.”

The Rainmaker also reveals the various aspects of lawyering that might run contradictory to popular opinions. For example, Rudy Baylor, even when financially broke, knows he must serve his client first and foremost: “A lawyer has a duty to give his client the best possible advice without regard for his own financial circumstances.”

Grisham constructs a balanced attitude toward insurance companies too. He seems to point a scolding finger at an industry with a track record for not paying out as quickly as it could and with a preference for going to court in order to enjoy a higher probability of beating the victim.

The Rainmaker shows the reader why some individuals sue for great sums of money. This is unusual and important because the general public tends to interpret large verdicts against big businesses as frivolous.

This book is fun to read. It gives a realistic and balanced look into the world of personal injury law, with page-turning twists and turns.

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