Book Review
By Roger Parloff

(FORTUNE Magazine) – A couple of years ago the New York Times ran a story about superlitigator David Boies in which rivals sniped that he was accepting more work than any mortal could adequately handle. Readers of Boies's new book, Courting Justice, will empathize with those grousers.

Since 1997, when Boies, then 56, spun himself off from his Wall Street firm, he has rarely been out of the public eye. In addition to leading the government's historic antitrust suit against Microsoft and representing Al Gore in the litigation that decided the last presidential election, Boies has handled cases for the New York Yankees, comedian Garry Shandling, designer Calvin Klein, digital folk hero Napster, digital archvillain SCO, World Trade Center insurer Lloyd's of London, and far too many others to list. So when does he find time to write a book? A ghostwriter won't explain away the puzzle. Most of these 468 pages are unmistakably Boies's handiwork. They echo his lucid, understated style and are informed by his matchless analytical powers, as penetrating and comprehensive as an MRI.

Still, Courting Justice--referred to in its subtitle as "a lawyer's casebook"--is not for everyone. It's not so much a memoir as a strategic and tactical reliving of eight of Boies's recent cases, with an effort to draw modest lessons from each. Though he makes the case that the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore "abandoned principled decision-making," for instance, he also concludes that the court's "reputation, and our faith in it, will survive an occasional lapse." It's a prudent moral to draw for someone who may be appearing before that court again.

In a short intro Boies does provide fleeting glimpses into his dyslexic childhood, his adventures as a cardsharp and high-stakes casino gambler, his three marriages and two divorces, and the first 31 years of his career, but the account is tantalizingly abridged. It whets the appetite for the unauthorized version of Boies's life: the biography by journalist Karen Donovan that is due out from Pantheon in February. -- Roger Parloff