Brian Felgoise wants to bring you into a world few people could scarcely believe actually exists.
The longtime Philadelphia lawyer and first-time author can assure you that the glamorous world of class-action law does exist in his fictionalized tale Filthy Rich Lawyers, Book 1: The Education of Ryan Coleman.
Written with co-author David Tabatsky, the first volume of what may become a series of legal adventures is a rollicking, fun read with vividly-drawn characters in situations you’d never expect from the world of high-powered corporate law.
“I thought I had a good story to tell and I hooked up with David,” Felgoise said. “The problem was, I’m not a celebrity. Who wants to read a memoir written by a non-famous person? We had agents who were shopping the story around, then I said to David, hey, let’s turn it into a novel. And we went with it.”
Felgoise draws from his own experience for his practice. Think of him as the Ryan Coleman of the story.
“I say it’s loosely-based on my experience and David likes to joke about that,” Felgoise said, “but the first three chapters in the book are exactly what happened. In order to do a proposal for the memoir, we needed to have a couple of live chapters.
“The first chapter was me making a rookie mistake. I tried to B.S. a judge and it ended up me doing whatever I could do to apologize.”
From there, however the paths of the fictional lawyer and the author diverge, it is entertaining. Felgoise builds an entertaining world with just enough legal explainers to prevent readers from losing the thread and just enough color to keep the narrative moving.
“The first three chapters explain the law, and what the law does,” Felgoise said. “It serves to slow the story down. We purposely made those chapters really short, an easy read. We didn’t really have a problem with that, but some people expressed to me that they wished there was more law. Other people said they had to slow down and go over the first three chapters.”
From there, the book’s protagonist makes his way from Texas to New York City to the Grand Canyon and beyond while getting an introduction into the world of the real masters of the universe.
Better still, Book One ends with a cliff-hanger that sets the stage for the next volume in the series: In Due Time.
“What I wanted to do is give people an escape from the crazy world we live in,” Felgoise said. “I think I accomplished that.”
The book is definitely a good read that gives Philly readers a fair share of moments that are instantly recognizable. That’s no surprise for an author who easily slips into “bar talk” about the latest moves from Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, or finding the right players to complement Joel Embiid in the Sixers lineup.
“Coleman (the protagonist in the book) lives in Philly,” Felgoise said. “He graduated from Temple Law school like I did. The other thing we have in common is both our fathers died at a very early age. It made such an impact on my life.”
The adventures of lawyer Ryan Coleman will definitely continue in Book 2, which is tentatively scheduled for publication in the spring and features much more of Coleman’s life in Philly. Beyond that, the story could easily be adapted for the big or small screens.
“I think it would make a perfect TV series,” Felgoise said. “It doesn’t matter the network.”
Until that time comes, Filthy Rich Lawyers promises plenty of action.
“It’s really a legal thriller and satire,” Felgoise said. “By the last quarter of the book, you want to keep reading just to see what happens to this kid. There are deaths involved. Ultimately, the reader wants to find out what happens to this kid.”