His name is Mark Lewis and until I read yesterday’s New York Times story, by Amy Chozick, I knew only that he represented people who were victimized by Rupert Murdoch in the huge phone hacking scandal.
I didn’t think much more about him than that. But since Lewis is in New York right now, pursuing aspects of his case, the Times thought to cover him. And he himself is a really interesting person.
The headline for the story is “NewsCorp.’s Pursuer Had Modest Start.” But Lewis had more than just a “modest start.” He’s had multiple sclerosis, unemployment, near-penury and a divorce. In some ways, he reminds me of Jan Schlichtmann, the lawyer who pursued A Civil Action, although — at least in one short article — he’s more conventionally sympathetic. (Maybe you saw the film in which John Travolta played Schlichtmann.)
Lewis himself says that his story “sounds ‘like a John Grisham novel'”…
The section that struck me strongly concerns what I’ll call the pre-discovery stage of a lawsuit, and it illustrates how and why a lawyer must read every single word of every single piece of paper that emerges from the enemy’s stronghold.
In Lewis’s case, one odd line in one letter from Murdoch’s minions, became the beginning of what he calls his “light-bulb moment.”
It’s a terrific story, even better than Grisham.
Oh, and p.s. “Mr. Lewis said he planned to meet with Norman Siegel, a prominent civil liberties lawyer in New York, to discuss how to proceed with filing suits” [in the U.S.]. A sub-head in this article is “With a lawyer’s help, a scandal may jump across the Atlantic.”