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Law, Life and Laughter - A Personal Verdict [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Irvine Smith QC
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Sep 2011
Legendary Sheriff Irvine Smith QC is one of the most formidable criminal lawyers of his generation. Called to the Bar in 1953, he was involved as Counsel in some of Scotland's biggest cases, including the Glasgow Bank Raid, known at the time as 'the crime of the century'. He also defended five capital murder trials before the abolition of the death penalty and knew the full responsibility of trying to keep defendants from the gallows. He later became a Sheriff, quickly building a reputation as a no-nonsense judge with a sharp intellect and a dry and ready wit. He presided over the test case in the Ibrox Disaster. He was also one of the finest after-dinner speakers of his generation, especially on the theme of St Andrew and Burns. This talent took him to many venues across the world. Irvine Smith's personal recollections are both frank and entertaining, charting the highs and lows of a remarkable life and career lived to the full.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Black and White Publishing (7 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845023560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845023560
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast of experience, good wine and sweet song 10 Nov 2011
This is very interesting and enjoyable. In providing a view of a life in Scotland between 1926 and 2011 it is an asset to our understanding of our culture and its recent history. Anyone can learn from it.
Irvine is an example of the Scottish `lad o' pairts': from a humble background he struggled upwards out of poverty reaching the upper strata of society wherein he became an influential force for good and latterly a celebrity, internationally known as a public speaker. How was the transformation achieved?
The family, partly dysfunctional though it was, the community, the local school and chance all played their part. So too were a good memory and a pleasing soprano. In the thirties, before television, entertainment had to be supplied within the community. The child was put on stage and enjoyed the experience. He loved the language (had attended elocution lessons, learned the value of spoken verse) and made others do so because of his performance. It was the rector of Falkirk High School who suggested he become a lawyer, after first reading history, a favourite subject. The influences of people he met were strong: a St Kildan Free Church minister, a choirmaster who introduced him to music ( an intellectually enhancing factor all his life), a dominant grandmother and an aunt who was a well-travelled governess of the great and the good, among others.
Though a local authority grant covered fees, his attendance at Glasgow University was only possible because he could travel from home every day; a second degree in law funded by a part time job as librarian for 300 a year (more than twice the pay of a manual worker); and, reading for the bar, a bursary awarded by the university.
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Fascinating,incisive and humorous account of a long career in the SCOTTISH legal profession with an insight into the struggle of a working class boy to succeed in such a lofty profession.There are chapters ,with amusing anecdotes, on his second career as a Burns Supper and after dinner speaker which bring out another facet of the authors character with enough material for a sequel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read! 1 Feb 2014
By Squire
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great writer, great storyline, well described characters, great and gripping plot, all round a thoroughly great read. Worth a look.
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5.0 out of 5 stars superb 23 Dec 2013
By harry
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was privileged to work with the man and reading the book gave me a greater insight. A marvelous read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Would recommend 21 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Irvine Smith has obviously led a very interesting life and made this an enjoyable read. Would liked to have heard more of court cases and his sense of humour. Perhaps another book?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Memoire 5 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Whilst some of this book is an interesting view of Scottish law and legal practise, I found this book a bit laborious. Not one I'd recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read it by chance 16 May 2013
By Richard
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had no idea who the guy was, but once I started to read it I found myself swept up in it. It is an interesting book covering the life of an interesting man, if you enjoy a well written book about an interesting life, this might do it for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Irvine smith
What an exceptionally lucid and insightful book about the practice of the law in Scotland. Alas, it has all changed and not for the better. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mrs A L A Duncan. Laura Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars Law Life & Laughter
A very interesting and entertaining book despite its preponderence to Scottish law.An easy read but a bit slow in parts I found it interesting as I personally have a legal... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Beamer142
4.0 out of 5 stars Law for everyone
I first came across a hard back copy of this book and decided against it owing to diminishing space in my study and the price. With the e book i over came both issues. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Mr. A. Mowatt
3.0 out of 5 stars Scots lawyer
Perhaps author is better suited to after dinner speeches than to the page. I found the volume interesting in improving my understanding of Scottish legal system but I believe many... Read more
Published 20 months ago by jimbo
1.0 out of 5 stars My personal verdict on this book
I am sorry to say this, but this book is deadly dull and I gave up with it half way through.
Published 20 months ago by Frankie
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly a good read
He decribes well his early life, education and work in the Law. Also, gives a good insight and feel for the places and times. Read more
Published on 6 May 2012 by Helpmabobbob
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Much Laughter
I enjoyed this book very much .It was well written and knowing some of the places featured made it very interesting . Read more
Published on 13 April 2012 by electro99
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