Stanford Law Professor Wins Legal Fiction Prize
Paul Goldstein, an intellectual property lawyer and longtime Stanford Law School professor, has won the 2013 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for his novel “Havana Requiem.” Goldstein, 70, accepted the honor at a ceremony in September, saying in his acceptance speech that he celebrated the award by re-reading Harper Lee’s classic book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
“It is absolutely an enduring and very special magic,” Goldstein said.
The award is sponsored by the American Bar Association Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law.
“Havana Requiem” traces the efforts of intellectual property lawyer Michael Seeley in helping Cuban jazz musicians recover copyrights to their music. In investigating the matter, Seeley begins uncovering a web of conspiracy involving the Cuban security police, his former law firm and the U.S. State Department.
“Havana Requiem” was chosen for the award over two other finalists: “The Wrong Man” by David Ellis and William Landay’s “Defending Jacob.” In an online poll to help choose the winner, Goldstein’s book edged “Defending Jacob” by a count of 602-592. “The Wrong Man” polled 325 votes.
“Havana Requiem” is Goldstein’s third work of fiction. His two previous novels, “Errors and Omissions” and “A Patent Lie,” also followed the adventures of Seeley, a sharp, driven attorney with an alcohol problem.
Goldstein also is the author of several nonfiction books and law school textbooks relating to copyright and intellectual property rights.
In addition to writing books, Goldstein lectures on intellectual property issues and serves as the Lillick Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, a position he has held since 1985. He is a member of the bars of New York and California and has been of counsel to the law firm of Morrison Foerster since 1988.
He is the third winner of the annual Harper Lee Prize, which is given to a work of legal fiction that embodies the role of lawyers in society and is inspired by Atticus Finch, the small-town lawyer at the heart of Lee’s novel. Another lawyer-turned-writer, John Grisham, won the inaugural prize in 2011 for “The Confession” and Michael Connelly, also a best-selling novelist, won it in 2012 for “The Fifth Witness.”
Connelly was among the judges for the 2013 prize along with best-selling author Richard North Patterson, television personality Katie Couric and Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.