May It Please the Court!

From Auto Accidents to Agent Orange: How I Built a Storefront Law Practice into America's Largest Suburban Law Firm

by Leonard L. Rivkin, Jeffrey Silberfeld

Tags: Legal Profession/Professional Responsibility, Professionalism/Law Practice

444 pp

ISBN 978-0-89089-915-1

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May It Please the Court! tells the remarkable story of attorney Leonard Rivkin, who in 1950 opened a one-man law practice in the back of an insurance brokerage office in Freeport, Long Island. Thirty-five years later, Mr. Rivkin had built his practice into the largest suburban law firm in the United States.

Rivkin attributes the growth of his law practice and his success as a litigator to his aggressive, creative approach to business development and litigation strategy. He describes numerous innovative and resourceful methods of attracting and keeping clients, as well as examples of aggressive and creative litigating. The essence of his approach: take the initiative!

May It Please the Court! also provides a behind-the-scenes look at Rivkin's involvement in some of the most compelling and newsworthy civil cases of the past twenty years. Given America's fascination with legal matters (from John Grisham to A Civil Action), the book will appeal not just to lawyers and law students, but also to the general reading public. As Rivkin writes in the book's introduction, "It describes the extraordinary transformation and growth of a law practice. It peeks behind the scenes at Agent Orange, Franklin National Bank, and other compelling cases. It paints a vivid picture of what it's like to litigate routine traffic accident cases and headline-grabbing class actions: the pressure, the suspense, the unexpected twists, the humor, the elation, and the despair. It takes you into the conference room, not just the courtroom. It gives you the reasons, not just the results."

"The book is a fascinating work—far more gripping than the countless legal novels that line the shelves of libraries and far more instructive than the 'how to' manuals that are offered as part of the legal education courses now mandated for practicing attorneys in New York State. [This book] does please, and should please not only the courts and practitioners of the law but also anyone interested in reading the history of American civil law and the life of lawyer of 'grace, charm, and class' as Leonard Rivkin was described by Victor Yannacone, one of his adversaries in the Agent Orange litigation." — New York State Bar Association Journal

"[May It Please the Court!]…dispenses much useful advice about the business of law." — New York Law Journal