Fort Lauderdale labor and employment attorney Donna Ballman is out to fix all that for would-be writers who venture into the justice system but don’t really know the ins and outs of a courthouse.
Her book, "The Writer’s Guide to the Courtroom: Let’s Quill All the Lawyers " ($18.95, Behler Publications) is a finalist in the Florida Writers Association’s 2010 Royal Palm Literary Awards.
Ballman asked lawyers, including bestselling Aventura suspense writer Brad Meltzer, about what bothers them about how the civil justice system is portrayed in books and screenplays, and to talk about which ones got it right. She quotes their responses throughout the book to help other writers get it right.
Because getting it wrong can alienate 1.1 million lawyers.
Her book also addresses writing for television shows. Her No. 1 pet peeve is scripts calling for the lawyer, for obvious moral grounds, to switch sides in a case.
"What the writer of that episode didn’t show was the disbarment proceeding that would have taken place right afterward," Ballman writes.