Mastering the Contradictions: John Grisham’s The Rooster Bar

16 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2019

See all articles by David Ray Papke

David Ray Papke

Marquette University - Law School

Date Written: March 19, 2019


As did most of John Grisham’s two dozen previous legal thrillers, his The Rooster Bar (2017) soared to the top of the best-seller lists. The novel features three law-student protagonists who manage to bring down the nefarious for-profit law school that has been exploiting them and their fellow law students; at the same time the novel indicts virtually every branch of the contemporary legal profession. In its own way, The Rooster Bar parallels other Grisham novels which lionize brave, resourceful, and even heroic legalists while simultaneously pitching to the lay public’s distrust of lawyers. Without fail, Grisham captures but does not resolve America’s contradicted view of the legal profession.

Keywords: John Grisham, The Rooster Bar, legal thrillers, for-profit legal education, law & literature, law & popular culture

Suggested Citation

Papke, David Ray, Mastering the Contradictions: John Grisham’s The Rooster Bar (March 19, 2019). Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 19-04. Available at SSRN: or

David Ray Papke (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States

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