Please welcome the Honorable Sebastian Rudd, certainly not the only rogue lawyer in the country but one of the specialty’s more colorful practitioners. He is in no way your typical street lawyer. He does not have an office; instead, he works out of a customized van, complete with bulletproof windows, Wi-Fi, a small fridge for his beer, a small bar for his booze and a half case of single-batch bourbon, a hidden compartment for his guns, fine leather chairs for his clients, and a heavily armed driver. His last real office was firebombed, either by drug dealers or the police. He has no firm, no partners, associates, or employees, except for his driver, who’s also his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddy. Sebastian lives alone in a small apartment at the top of a tall building, safely above the streets. He carries a gun because his name and face tend to attract the attention of the kind of people who also carry guns and don’t mind using them.
Sebastian takes cases other lawyers won’t touch: the drug-addled punk accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a crime lord on death row; a homeowner accused of shooting at a SWAT team that invaded the wrong house. He’s in constant conflict with the police department and local politicians. He believes every person accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, the lawyer, has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice and those responsible for it. He doesn’t like insurance companies, banks, or other big corporations. He distrusts all levels of government. He despises the bar association, almost all of the lawyers in it, and certainly its notions of ethical behavior. He does love publicity and enjoys leaking hot tips to his favorite reporters.
His nastiest fights are with his ex-wife, a woman he loathes—and the feeling is mutual. They share a child, a young boy who’s often a pawn in their war. Sebastian admits he’s a lousy father but doesn’t think much of her as a mother, either. For sport, she drags him into court on a regular basis in her ongoing battle to terminate what’s left of his visitation rights.
I once practiced street law for ten years, a career mercifully cut short when I decided to pursue writing. Like all the other lawyers packed along Main Street, I wrote wills and deeds and occasionally went to court. It was a safe little career that did not demand much in the way of risk. I secretly admired the lawyers who had little time for the office, who preferred instead to spend their days doing battle in front of juries, often with clients and causes that were unpopular.
Not me. I never took the case of a defendant charged with a shocking crime. I never volunteered to help a guy on death row. I never borrowed money to go after a crooked company. I was afraid to get my hands dirty. Deep inside, though, I really wanted to be a rogue lawyer.
P.S. Sebastian is the colorful—some might say outrageous—star of ROGUE LAWYER, which goes on sale October 20, 2015. Learn more and pre-order here.