Leaning on the Arc: A Personal History of Criminal Defense is the story of what can happen to people when they are objectified—and how the law can stop it—told over the span of twelve key cases in the illustrious career of renowned criminal defense attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach.
Part memoir, part case history, Gerald “Gerry” Schwartzbach demonstrates why and how true justice can only happen when we refuse to objectify the defendant—whether it be Hollywood legend Robert Blake, civil rights activist Stephen Bingham, or Hootan Roozrokh, the youngest transplant surgeon in the United States—regardless of his or her alleged crime.
Leaning on the Arc is also a primer for law students and lawyers starting their careers—at either the defense or prosecutor’s table. It is a firsthand, material, and applicable account of what it takes to practice criminal defense law at a high level, how it really works, what to watch out for, and how it all feels.
About the Author: M. Gerald Schwartzbach, a trial lawyer for more than 45 years, is a San Francisco Bay area criminal defense attorney who is listed in “Best Lawyers,” “Super Lawyers,” the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, and the Marquis publications “Who’s Who in the World,” “Who’s Who in America,” and “Who’s Who in American Law.” He has received the Skip Glenn Award, presented for outstanding service in defense of a client by California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a statewide organization of more than 2,000 criminal defense attorneys. Mr. Schwartabach has also been a recipient for the Outstanding Service Award by the Northern California Innocence Project. In addition, he was named Distinguished Advocate by the Advisory Board of the Heafey Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy at Santa Clara University School of Law.
Praise for Leaning on the Arc: A Personal History of Criminal Defense
“Gerry Schwartzbach’s fascinating book is not only packed with great tales of injustice subverted by intelligence and passion, but it reminds us how the litany of prosecutorial injustices we read about daily, can be overthrown by the old industrial-age values of diligence, deep thought, and a burning commitment to justice. Though many of the cases in this book are about the famous, I met him when he was defending a penniless and unknown close friend of mine. I know a stand-up man when I see one, and you should read this book to gain an introduction.”
—Peter Coyote, Actor/Author
"This is the fascinating memoir of an excellent, highly accomplished, practical and idealistic criminal defense lawyer, as committed to his clients, the proper functioning of the criminal justice system and the rule of law as any lawyer could be. The lesson to be drawn is that thoughtful and the most thorough preparation is the key ingredient for success in the practice of law, regardless of one's specialty."
—Robert Helman, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP, Adjunct Professor University of Chicago Law School