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ERRORS & OMISSIONS Paul Goldstein Doubleday/$24.95 Being an alcoholic, in the middle of a divorce and even being threatened with disbarment might be considered hitting rock-bottom for most, but for Michael Seeley these are merely distractions from his fight to do the right thing. Paul Goldstein’s protagonist in “Errors & Omissions” embarks on a shadowy decent into the inner workings of Hollywood and the law as he is hand-picked to represent a film studio in drafting an errors and omissions contract. Seeley, an IP attorney who wears his conscience on his sleeve, desperately pleads with his clients not to settle when they stand to lose and instead to take the chance on a trial on principle alone. He becomes the superhero attorney fighting for the little guy � in this case, the abused and misrepresented artist. Personally, Seeley is at the end of his rope, caught up in a struggle to shape his law career into being something other than a large-firm partner with billable hours and pro bono clients, even though he barely has any of the former. He wants his own practice. He doesn’t want profits or the bottom line to interfere; for Seeley, being a worthwhile attorney is a work of art. Goldstein writes, “If a work of art truly has integrity, no one can destroy it.” Seeley holds true to this ideal. Deep down he has a soul, but it just got a little off-track. This is largely a story about a lawyer’s journey to recover himself. Despite a respectable storyline, the drama starts to mirror something Hollywood might crank out for the summer. The errors and omissions contract is fraudulent from the start, and the big mystery is who wrote the original script and how to find him. With murderous thugs in hot pursuit, Seeley uncovers more clues, eventually leading him to a blacklisted, Communist-era writer living out his final days in Munich. In his journey from New York to Los Angeles to Munich, Seeley sobers up and tries to wrap his head around the various ways he is being manipulated. Along the way we meet a colorful hodgepodge of executives, attorneys, writers, artists and even a burnt-out photographer living in a dingy shack in the middle of the desert. Goldstein, a Stella W. and Ira S. Lillick professor of law at Stanford Law School and of counsel to Morrison & Foerster, has written numerous nonfiction books and articles on intellectual property. “Errors and Omissions” is his first novel, but it’s rooted in intellectual property issues, and one wonders if it will be included on the syllabus in the fall. It definitely could be tossed into a beach bag for a light read in between Hollywood blockbusters at the local theater. Jason Doiy is the photo editor for The Recorder.

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