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Turow Sees Post-Watergate Gain in Popularity of Legal Fiction


Author and lawyer Scott Turow credited the Watergate scandal of the 1970s with creating an enormous interest in a new genre of fiction—the legal thriller—and in sparking more mainstream interest in the legal field. Speaking at the Fordham Law School’s Forum on Law, Culture & Society on Dec. 6, Turow, author of the New York Times best seller Presumed Innocent (Straus & Giroux, 1987), said the public underwent a “baptism by fire with the law” as they watched countless lawyers face indictments and jail sentences as events of the break-in and cover-up unfolded.

“The legal genre’s popularity today has to do with where we are at as a society,” he told a large audience at the Time Warner Center, in Manhattan. “Americans realized that not all lawyers were paragons of virtue, and that they had better watch them more carefully. Americans are also interested in the law because the questions of values in our society are being decided in the courts.”

Turow’s appearance was part of the Law School’s series of discussions with high-profile personalities exploring provocative contemporary legal issues and how they influence the broader culture. Recent forum speakers include novelist E.L. Doctrow and director Sidney Lumet. The event was co-sponsored by the Fordham Law School’s Forum on Law, Culture & Society, HBO and Time Warner, and was moderated by Thane Rosenbaum, J.D., the John Whelan Distinguished Lecturer of Law at Fordham.

Turow is the author of seven best-selling novels. His latest book, Limitations, was published by Picador in 2006. Altogether his books have sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Presumed Innocent  was on theNew York Times best-seller list for 44 weeks and was made into a 1990 movie starring Harrison Ford.

– Janet Sassi


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