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We’re thrilled to be talking to Mike Zorich, a trial lawyer from Sacramento, California whose story is told in Ken Malovos’ legal thriller, Contempt of Court.
I feel that I was accurately portrayed, although there is so much more to me than was stated in the book. I realize that most of my life is pretty boring, so it was good that that not everything was included. But I do love to cook and would love to have you and others over to my house to share a meal, a good glass of Chardonnay or Zinfandel and to talk about writing fiction. I love the outdoors, as you might guess from my running. I love reading books when I have the time. I really care about others, especially those in my life.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
My strongest trait is my desire for justice. I feel that I need to do my absolute very best for all of my clients, and I will fight for them and do whatever is needed. This desire keeps me going when it is darkest or when I have suffered some setbacks. When I was a kid, my father always encouraged me to be for the underdog.
I get too personally involved in the sense that I sometimes lose my objectivity. I identify with my clients. As a result, I don’t do my best for them. I constantly have to work on stepping back a bit and looking at the big picture. This is true not just for my law career but for my relations with others in general.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Matthew McConaughey who played Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer (book by Michael Connolly), is like the lawyer I would want to be, but he doesn’t look like me at all. Maybe, Richard Gere would be a better fit. Anyway, I come out better on this deal.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
I was nervous from day one. When I got mugged on the bike trail when I was out for a morning jog, I was very concerned. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen to people in their normal lives. When the mugger told me that I wasn’t such a big shot lawyer, I instantly knew that he knew who I was. That scared me. Then when my car was stolen, my home was ransacked and my office was burglarized, I knew I was in big trouble. As bad as that was, the order by the judge to hold me in contempt of court and to throw me in jail took the cake. I was in way over my head. Then everything got worse and I was really worried that I was going to be killed.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I don’t think I could be Robert Cannes, the opposing lawyer in the Darnoff case. He went along with the system and took advantage of another lawyer. That was just wrong and he knew it but did it anyway. I don’t like to look at life or at the practice of law that way.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
I liked the ending. For me, it meant that I had no regrets and that I could live with myself and with those I love. Maybe there was a bit too much excitement for my rather boring life.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?
Be true to my character and don’t make me out to be someone I am not. I have my faults, for sure. I am not perfect. I still have not quite figured out how to resolve my feelings for my wife who died six years ago and I don’t quite know what to do with this new woman that I think I love. I could probably learn how to handle alcohol a bit better. I know that, but easier said than done.
Thank you for this interview, Mike. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
Yes, I understand that I will be next appearing in Fatal Reunion. I am asked to represent an innocent man, who is accused of killing his old girlfriend when they hook up at a 20-year high school reunion. The evidence is weak and winning the case should not be a problem. It makes it so much better that the man I am representing is a likable high school English teacher with no prior record, but I do hate the cases when the defendant is obviously innocent. They are the hardest and put a lot of pressure on me. Oh well.
About the book: Sacramento trial lawyer, Mike Zorich, is finally coming to grips with the death of his wife from cancer five years ago. There is a new woman in his life. His son is making his way in the business world. His law practice is going well. And he has a new case that promises to be very demanding. Members of the Darnoff wine family are at odds with each other, amidst a divorce and partnership dissolution. Then things go wrong. Mike becomes the target of some unexplained personal attacks. He is mugged on the bike trail and his house is ransacked. Is it someone connected to the Darnoff case? Is it an old client from his years in the Public Defender’s Office? Is it some disgruntled witness from a trial? To top it off, Mike is held in contempt of court and remanded to jail. The attacks continue and only get worse. The authorities don’t have a clue. Can Mike figure it all out before someone is killed?
Purchase on AMAZON! About the author: Ken Malovos is a mediator and arbitrator in Sacramento, CA. Previously, he was a trial lawyer, a public defender for 12 years and a business litigator for 25 years. He is a graduate of Stanford University (philosophy) and UC Hastings College of the Law. Ken is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association and Legal Services of Northern California. He is a panel member for the American Arbitration Association, a fellow in the College of Commercial Arbitrators, a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals and a member of the California Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. Contempt of Court is his first novel. He lives in Sacramento with his wife. You can visit Ken Malovos’ website at www.malovoslaw.com.