Pleading Guilty

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-10-20
  • Publisher: Scb Distributors
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An over-the-top bittersweet comedy that introduces us to one of the most unlikely anti-heroes of modern times, Wallace, destined to leave his mark both on the legal establishment and his readers. Wallace is full of passion. He is angry at the changing world around him. He is angry at the Bar, with its charter marks and political correctness, the Crown Prosecution Service for its gross incompetence and at the people running his chambers for their lack of loyalty to the clerk who had set up their chambers and helped to make them well-paid lawyers. He is also full of love for his wife, their family and for Pauline, a legal assistant at another law firm.

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Customer Reviews

Not such a right wally after all! September 6, 2010
Paul Genney weaves a good tale with this patchwork legal quilt of ‘fly on the wall’ vignettes linked to his character, ‘Wally’ Wallace of Whitebait Chambers, up north. We met Paul recently and he outlined his book, which took our attention so we read it with interest after the defining Mortimer years with Rumpole and Sir John’s concerns over ‘New’ Labour changes to our profession which seem to have set the current precedent in modern legal characters after Henry Cecil’s Roger Thursby in the Fifties, (which was controversial enough in its time.)

Most practising barristers will identify very quickly with the issues confronting our flawed hero, Henry Wallace. We’re not giving the plot away, but let us just say that Genney falls nicely into the Somerset Maugham concept of the novel which should end with a death or a marriage, or so Willie said in his most esoteric work ‘The Razor’s Edge’ (which didn’t). Read ‘Pleading Guilty’ and you will see the nice twists as they develop.

It is a book for today with the nice, under-done boot kicking softly at the legal establishment, born more out of a frustration with the system which we all feel from time to time. This snapshot of legal life has the statutory four letter words -a bit too many, but probably at the publishers’ insistence if modern success in getting published is anything to go by. Some were rather unnecessary as most of these words are normally ‘quotes in court’ and not that often heard in the advocates’ room (as we are a bit busy).

We came away at the end, as we sometimes do at the end of a case, feeling for the loneliness of the advocate - many of us been there with Wallace and the dead client, and some of the more fundamental incidents of life which most portraits of barristers just seem to have to include: adultery and personal life, dealing with death, and quirky clients of one description or another. But that’s what we do.

Don’t get us wrong, we found this book hard to put down when we started it, so we became curious and had a bet as to how Genney would structure and flow his 43 chapters. He has clearly borrowed some of his old briefs and witness statements (just to refresh his memory, of course) but the result works as his ingredients mix well with the office relationships and the great names he comes up with- we liked, especially, Horace Pickles, or should that be James Rumpole! Yes, we know who you mean. Readers should look at chapters 23 and 27 which we found particularly moving and we’re sure many legal professionals can identify with much of Genney’s understated views.

This is a great new contribution to modern chambers fiction, and if he comes up with a sequel, let’s have less of the bad language and more character description but keep your concept of two legal twists at the end! And please keep the jokes running, especially if they are at the expense of New Labour and certain London chambers.

Well done, Paul. We can’t give you the ‘detective writers’ dagger’.
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Pleading Guilty: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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