Foreword Review — Sept / Oct 1999
Judges, lawyers and clients—these are the people who comprise “the legal system” that is heard so much about. Huffman’s fourteen stories all involve the backdrop of this “system,” but it is the characters that command our attention.
Unlike most fiction seen on television or at the movies, the stories in Legal Fiction ring true to the reader with a legal background and also will appeal to attorneys and the general public. Lawyers are portrayed not as cartoonish villains but as people, complete with human frailties and emotions other than avarice. Occasionally, they are even motivated with a desire to simply do what is “right.” Nor are there any hokey, contrived endings or silly “Hollywood” courtroom scenes or evil corporations or satanic men in three-piece suits. No, the stories are simply about people, all caught up in one way or another in the convoluted machinations of the system. Often, the tales end with a lawful but unfair result, which makes the reader ponder the rationale of the legal Gordian knot our society has created.
For example, “justice” is a nebulous concept to a judge who is up for re-election and ponders whether to ignore the clear mandate of the law and instead convict a drunk driver who ran over a child; a lawyer finds empathy with his clients when his alcoholic demons cast him into a jail cell; and an overzealous campus police officer is outmaneuvered by a college student and his lawyer father—these are some of the realistic stories Huffman crafts from his many years of practicing criminal law.
Lady Justice may be blindfolded, but sometimes she peeks. Huffman lets the readers know what she sees in the inner workings of “the system”—sometimes humorous, often ironic, always fascinating.