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Treble Damages
David Elkind, author
TREBLE DAMAGES SYNOPSIS A leading New York lawyer reaches the top of his career through brilliance and ruthlessness, but his life is ruined because of his fatal flaw. Jack Pressler is considered the top antitrust lawyer in the country. His partners respect and fear him, and make him the firm’s first name partner since the 19th century. Jack’s pitfall is that if anyone crosses him, he reacts with an unmatched fury. He strikes back at anyone who fuels his anger. His mother, who is his foil throughout the book, has grave concern for his lack of control when he is incensed, but he admits that he cannot let go of his anger. Jack’s inner circle includes many memorable characters who enliven the book and leave an indelible mark on him. His law school roommate from the Soviet Union, Alex, is intelligent and witty, but dies in a plane crash. His long-time colleague and best friend, Liam, a first-generation Irish American who calls him Jackie, is gruff and forceful, but is also brilliant and caring. His first great love, Heather, is on law review at Columbia Law School and is determined to break free of her parents’ Southern provincialism. She breaks up with Jack when his rage manifests, then is killed in a horrific car accident. Jack and Liam attend her funeral, where her mother unwittingly discomforts Jack by discussing Heather’s feelings towards him. His wife, Wendy, is beautiful and bright, but her excessive materialism leads to a messy divorce, where Jack is determined to get the better of her. There are many other colorful characters. The book also celebrates Jack’s many triumphs as he rises to the top of his profession. His fame begins when, as a fifth-year associate, he solves a complex price fixing scandal, and accelerates with his many triumphs as a partner. Jack demands an exorbitant salary, which he ultimately receives because he is worth it. Jack’s world crashes down on him when a failed case is worsened by an ethical lapse and his lifelong flaw. He is forced to confront the destruction of everything that he has worked for. After a life of unbridled success, he must decide how to deal with the consequences of his failure.