Brian Felgoise has been practicing class-action law for more than 25 years, and he draws upon his real-world interactions with lawyers, judges and plaintiffs to inform his new, satirical legal thriller, Filthy Rich Lawyers, Book One: The Education of Ryan Coleman, co-written with David Tabatsky (left).
The story begins in a Texas courtroom, where Ryan Coleman, a young, ambitious lawyer from Philadelphia, is chasing his share of a class-action lawsuit involving a multi-national defense contractor. After getting reprimanded by the judge for speaking out of turn, Coleman meets Robert Smalley, a brilliant attorney and borderline criminal who boasts that, “I have the greatest practice of law in the world because I have no clients.”
Brian M. Felgoise, Esq., is a graduate of Temple University Law School and has been practicing class-action law for more than 25 years, including cases where billions of dollars have been recovered for class members who lost a significant amount of money.
David Tabatsky has authored, co-authored and edited many novels, including The Boy Behind the Door, Friends Like These, The Marijuana Project, The Battle of Zig Zag Pass and Drunk Log. His memoir, American Misfit, was published in 2017. Tabatsky was consulting editor for Marlo Thomas and her New York Times bestseller, The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2.
Tabatsky talks about the process of putting the book together.
How did you get involved in this project?
Brian initially hired me to write a proposal for a non-fiction book based on his experiences as a class action lawyer. I secured a literary agent to shop this project, and it is still in process. Meanwhile, Brian decided that he would like to pursue a fictionalised version of these events, loosely based on his career. So, we began working on the novel called Filthy Rich Lawyers, which has turned into a two-book series.
How did you conduct your research or other preparation before writing – was it more experiential or more academic or desk-based?
Most of the research was technical when it came to legal issues and contextual when it came to lifestyle details and geographic facts. Otherwise, it’s a big free for all when it comes to creating an alternate universe.
If resources (money, time, whatever) were no object, what additional groundwork would you like to have completed?
It would have been fun to pull off a real party in the Grand Canyon!
What’s in your to-read pile – and what upcoming book are you most looking forward to?
Entertaining Race by MIchael Eric Dyson, The Bells of Old Tokyo by Anna Sherman and People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn
Do you have a favourite character that you have created? Or if you’re writing non-fiction, do you have a specific topic that you find endlessly fascinating?
I do not have a favorite character I’ve created, just like I can’t single out one of my children as my favorite. As for non-fiction, writing about parenting has been an ongoing thing for me that I enjoy.